Northern Nigerian Breaking News

Enhancing livestock productivity via improved animals’ healthcare services- Zubairu Idris

By Zubairu Idris

Undoubtedly, cattle in Nigeria produce less milk and meat, and in most cases, are not resistant to diseases, compared to cattle in other parts of the world.

That is because Nigeria still use traditional methods of livestock management.

Experts say that Nigerian cows produce an average of one-to-two litres of milk a day, compared to cows in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world, where they produce about 20 litres per day on the average.

They further said that livestock productivity can be achieved through improved animals’ health services, like artificial insemination, enhanced nutrition and improving animals’ health services.

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Kano State Government, in order to change the narrative, is collaborating with the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and Lives and Livelihood Fund (LLF) to boost milk and meat production.

The five-year project called “Agro-pastoral Development Project (KSADP),” which has commenced, focuses on improving crop production and enhancing livestock productivity.

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To enhance livestock productivity, five Friesian bulls have been purchased for Artificial Insemination (AI).

KSADP Communication Specialist, Mr Ameen Yassar, said that in AI   “semen of bulls of superior quality is collected and used to inseminate females to conceive offspring with desired traits, such as high milk and meat, as well as disease resistance.”

He explained that experts believed that, artificial insemination would result in the development of a more productive cattle population.

Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State recently inaugurated the artificial insemination at Kadawa Animal Insemination Centre, equipped under the project for effective service delivery.

Ganduje said that the intention was to inseminate at least 25, 000 cows annually.

He said his administration was promoting artificial insemination as part of “deliberate move to change herdsmanship from a socio-cultural activity to a socio-economic venture, in tandem with prevailing realities across the globe.

“It is aimed at achieving genetic improvement of our local cattle productivity, thereby significantly improving the income of our herdsmen and mitigating the population’s nutrition challenges,” he said.

The programme has also been launched state-wide for 2022, under the Mass Cattle and Small Ruminants Vaccination, also aimed at improving the health of animals.

Ganduje  who spoke at the commencement of the campaign said the programme, which is free, is targeting 1, 025, 000 cattle and 750, 000 goats and sheep across the state.

The governor revealed that the objective is to protect livestock from Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP), and Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR), which are the major diseases affecting animals’ productivity and health.

“It will also improve the livestock’s overall quality of life, prevent economic losses and in the long run, promote human health,” Ganduje said.

He added that the vaccination conducted in 2021 was “very successful, as 701, 042 cattle and 663,570 sheep and goats were vaccinated.

“I did not receive information on outbreak of CBPP and PPR in Kano State last year, but we are not relenting in our effort.”

On his part, the KSADP State Coordinator, Malam Ibrahim Garba-Muhammad, said that 220 Community Animal Health Workers were engaged to conduct the statewide mass vaccination across the state.

He also said that 30 International Committee for Red Cross Supported Community Animal Health Workers and 880 inoculators would also take part in the exercise, under the supervision of 41 veterinary doctors.

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The coordinator said the animal health personnel were supported with kits containing basic equipment and drugs, to enable them offer basic services in their localities.

“In return for such services, they will charge fees to restock and earn a living,” he said.

The animal health personnel were recently trained to enable them provide quality health services.

Dr Garba Saleh, KSADP Livestock Specialist, explained that the training was aimed at equipping the Animal Health Workers with veterinary techniques in line with international best practices.

Dr Olaniran Alabi, the Chief Veterinary Officer of Nigeria, who spoke during the vaccination exercise, said vaccination would guarantee successful livestock transformation in the country.

Alabi, who is the Director, Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Resources, also gave details of cattle population in the country.

He said that as at 2020, the estimated cattle population in Nigeria stood at 20,585,153; sheep, 47,926,393; goats, 84,039,153; camel, 280,617, and chicken 223,704,135.

Alabi, represented by Dr Muhammad Ali-Gana, said that among the major factors affecting livestock production and productivity in the country, is Transboundry Animal Diseases (TADs)

He said that TADs included Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP), Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR), Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), Avian Influenza, African Swine Fever, among others.

He commended the efforts of Kano State Government for launching the animals’ vaccination exercise.

He said that the Federal Government is constructing a Federal Veterinary Medical Centre in Gabasawa, meant to enhance the  health of animals.

The director also announced that the government is upgrading/renovating one abattoir in Kano State, to ensure safe and wholesome meat for human consumption.

Nevertheless, the project coordinator said that, KSADP has wide-scale initiatives that would deepen agro-pastoral productivity.

The initiatives, he said, include commercial fodder production, crop residue utilisation from emerging sources, upgrade of 20 slaughter houses and establishment of 200 milk collection centre, among others.

Furthermore, KSADP recently awarded contract for the construction of a Veterinary Reference Laboratory at Gwale, in Kano.

Garba-Muhammad said the laboratory would render several vital services related to veterinary sciences, such as diagnosis, determination of treatment options, prevention, and monitoring of animal diseases.

He said that the “laboratory, which is the first of its kind in Northern Nigeria, will secure both livestock and human health.

“When completed, the facility will not only serve Kano State, but all the neighbouring states. It will drastically cut the cost of managing animal health in our communities,” he said.

Musa Jibrin, a pastoralist, commended KSADP and IsDB for the project, which he said, is assisting in enhancing health of their animals.

He urged the government to establish under path at Garun-Mallam, to prevent their animals from being crushed by motorists while crossing the road.

The Kano State Government has remained resolute to improve livestock production as well as the welfare of herders.

The governor announced recently that his administration has established Ruga settlement at Dansoshiya forest, with about 200 houses, earth dam, market, health facility, school and a police outpost, all designed to enhance welfare of pastoralists.

He warned herdsmen in the state against engaging in banditry and kidnapping, adding  “for banditry, is life imprisonment, while kidnapping is death sentence.”

All in all, the efforts of Kano State Government are designed to boost livestock production through improved animal healthcare services. (NAN)

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