By Amuda Dan Sulaiman Fab
FCT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, has launched a livestock development and implementation plan with a gestation period of 10 years.
The minister who officially launched the plan at the opening ceremony of a two day stakeholder’s engagement meeting stated that the plan was aimed at facilitating and enhancing the provision of critical infrastructure and resolving all social impediments towards the full development of the four grazing reserves in the FCT.
Aliyu noted that the outcome of this important meeting is expected to provide the FCT Administration with a roadmap towards a stable and prosperous livestock sub-sector and contribute to the desire to achieve food and nutrition security, create needed jobs, and stimulate further diversification of the economy away from the oil sector.
The minister revealed that the agricultural sector contributed about 22.36 percent to the national GDP in the first quarter of 2022, with the livestock sub-sector contributing about 7 percent to that figure, while regretting that the potentials that would enable the efficient growth of the sector have yet to be activated.
“While this underscores sector and sub-sector relevance in economic growth, achieving targeted growth in livestock output has been slow.
“Projections suggest that with the exponential rise in human populations, especially in urban settings like the FCT, the demand for livestock products such as poultry meat, beef, and milk will grow without a commensurate capacity of the livestock industry to meet needs,,” she affirmed.
She, therefore, promised that the FCT Administration would provide the needed environment for the operators to excel.
According to her, “This present FCT Administration is relying on the strategic location of the FCT, with a livestock route network of over 300km, population growth, affluence of residents, favourable climatic conditions, abundant water resources, a good road network and air link, and access to evolving standard gauge rail networks, to make the FCT a preferred destination for livestock operators.
“We remain convinced that with all hands on deck, there are no targets that cannot be achieved”.
Aliyu, therefore, commended stakeholder’s engagement and participation that had yielded the desired results.
“Our work with Nestlé Nigeria Plc to pilot an innovative community-based dairy value chain development in one of our grazing reserves has seen milk collection grow by about 900% in the past year, and we are poised to activate more of such partnerships to deepen impacts,” she stressed.
Earlier, the FCTA Permanent Secretary, Mr. Adesola Olusade, who was represented by the Director Human Resource Management, Malam Mohammed Bashir, stressed that this dynamic approach was in tune with modern institutional governance that lays emphasis on structured planning as a necessary prerequisite to successful programmes implementation.
Adesola also noted that the FCT is blessed with abundant potentials in the livestock sub-sector which is why the Administration has given deserved attention to the sector and the interest shown by the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) and Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) in funding the establishment of the Special Agro-Inustrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) is expected to provide an additional boost to the livestock sector.
In his remarks, Secretary Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Malam Abubakar Ibrahim, reiterated that the FCT Administration is putting in place, structures and policies that would attract investors in the sector, as well as support the activities of small-holder livestock farmers.
He, however, commended the FCT Minister of State for demonstrating her passion for the Agricultural sector, and the development of a 10-year action plan toward repositioning the livestock sector in FCT.