The Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, described climate change, natural disasters, insecurity and emerging zoonotic diseases as threats to food security.
This was disclosed in a communique signed by the chairman, Communique Drafting Committee, Dr Sati Ngulukun, issued at the end of the 59th annual congress of the Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association (NVMA), held in Lagos State.
According to the communique, the minister called for collaboration among stakeholders in the livestock sub-sector to combat the challenges affecting food security in Nigeria, in line with President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda.
He also highlighted the issues of climate change, increased outbreaks of transboundary animal diseases, emerging and re-emerging zoonotic diseases, natural disasters, insecurity and persistent farmer herder clashes in sub-Saharan Africa as threats to food security.
The chief host and Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwu-Olu, represented by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms Ruth Olusanya, urged the veterinary profession to partner with the state government, since the state is the highest consumer of livestock in Nigeria.
He further told the association to use social media as a tool to create awareness of their activities.
The communiqué read: “The keynote speaker, Prince S. J. Samuel, chairman, Origin Tech Group, encouraged veterinarians to align with the realities of the time due to climate change and modernisation.
“He also challenged them to align with human health and environmentalists to enhance public health.
“The theme speaker was Dr Ken Opara, the President/Chairman of the Council, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).
“Dr Opara emphasized the role of veterinarians in safeguarding the health and welfare of animals. This, he said, could be achieved through data sharing for economic growth, digitisation of veterinary activities through tele-medicine and the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in diagnosis and treatment of animal diseases.”
The communique also noted that Dr Opara appealed that veterinary laboratories should be supported for quick diagnosis of zoonotic diseases that will enhance public health.
Meanwhile, the President of NVMA, Dr Olutoyin Adetuberu, encouraged members to take their place in the forefront of public health, ensuring food safety and sustaining the bond between humans and animals.
She then advised the veterinarians to leverage on emerging opportunities to tackle new challenges.