To stop the incessant conflict between herders and farmers in Edo state, the State Government has inaugurated the National Animal Identification and Traceability system, NAITS, to create a database of livestock and other information on production and traceability.
Gov. Godwin Obaseki, declaring the event open on Tuesday, said the launch of NAITS would go a long way to solving the farmers’ and herders crisis in the country.
Obaseki, represented by the state Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Mr Stephen Idehenre, noted that the agricultural sector required extensive coordination for effective and efficient resource utilization by farmers.
He said “As part of our institution reforms to strengthen the engine of government under EdoSTEP, I approved the creation of the Department of Animal Husbandry Services in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.
“Thus, I will be right to say that the choice of Edo State to host this event is one of the benefits of our institution reforms in the Civil Service.
“Therefore, I am happy that Edo State has become a melting point for technocrats in the very diverse field of Animal Husbandry to discuss industry issues and to proffer appropriate solutions to grow the sector.
“We recognize that capacity and institution building are critical to success, hence our initiative to invest in agriculture education and innovation.
“Our intervention in the oil palm sector has been adjudged the biggest in Sub-Sahara Africa with over 70,000 hectares of unencumbered land allocated to nine (9) private investors for oil palm production.
“Presently, the Edo State government is partnering with Heifer International and Amo Farms Sieberer Hatchery Limited to empower over 200,000 smallholder poultry farmers by 2030.
“Under this initiative, Amo Farms Sieberer Hatchery Limited will process made-in-Edo Chicken, starting with 10,000 birds per day with a plan to scale-up as farmers production capacity increases,” he said.
Obaseki urged the committee to come up with implementable strategies that would guide the government at all levels to further develop the livestock industry that is worth over N33 trillion annually.
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, thanked Gov. Obaseki for hosting the event.
Umakhihe noted that the livestock sector accounted for more than 40 per cent of the agricultural gross domestic product and 33 per cent of the world’s protein intake and supports over one billion people.
He added that Nigeria had the largest population of livestock in West Africa, accounting for about nine per cent of the contribution of agriculture to the national GDP.
“The sector also has a huge economic potential worth over N33 trillion annually,” Umakhihe said.
He explained that the ministry had launched NAITS to create a database of identified livestock to discourage rustling in the country.
According to him, “I am glad that Gov. Godwin Obaseki would be launching NAITS in Edo state today. I urge other states to launch NAITS and commence implementation.”
The National President, Animal Science Association of Nigeria, ASAN, Mr. Raymond Isiadinso called on all stakeholders to work together to build a stronger and more resilient animal agriculture sector.
Meanwhile, NAITS was launched during the 5th National Animal Husbandry Development Committee, NAHDC, meeting held in Benin.
NAITS is an initiative of the federal government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security with MEGACORP company as its technical partner and Edo government as an implementing partner.