The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) has launched an enhanced livestock feed program designed to create a shift from nomadic cattle rearing to a more structured system.
When fully implemented, the scheme is expected to inject about 2,450 extra heads of cattle into the Nigerian market every three months and generate about N1, 200,000 every year for each targeted farmer with concomitant positive impact on families and communities.
Experts say the programme will encourage private investments into Nigeria’s livestock value chain, particularly at a time when government has come under pressure to diversify the economy and improve earnings.
The initiative, is also expected to help reduce the frequent incidents of herdsmen/villagers clash which have claimed a lot lives in the country.
BusinessDAY was told that the program which will involve 700 livestock farmers has taken off as a pilot in Adamawa state and will be extended to other states across the country in a nationwide push for stronger impact.
Other locations included in the pilot phase include Delta, Imo, Oyo, Katsina, Bauchi and the Federal Capital Territory.
The enhanced livestock feed program comes months after the federal government had announced plans to establish ranches and grazing reserves for Fulani herdsmen in the country to avert further violent altercation between the them and local farmers.
NIRSAL said at the heart of the program is its tailored livestock feed finishing model, anchored on the adoption of the highly nutritious and fast-growing Napier grass which has a short gestation cycle of 3 months by the livestock farmers.
The project is being financed under the NIRSAL-CBN Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP). Under the comprehensive scheme, NIRSAL will not only provide access to finance but also technical support to livestock farmers for guaranteed results.
The program introduces a shift from the nomadic nature of livestock rearing to a more controlled system that allows for quality care, fattening and increased productivity for farmers.
Aliyu Abdulhameed, Managing Director of NIRSAL, said the initiative marks an important step in the execution of their strategy to stimulate the growth of a modern, reliable and sustainable livestock feed finishing industry in the north as a strategic response to the problems which affect the livestock value chain.
Abdulhameed explained that Adamawa state was chosen for the pilot of the program due to its strategic status as a regional hub in livestock business and the strong commitment of the Governor, Bindow Umaru Jibrilla towards growing and modernizing it.
Other key components of the innovative program include training of livestock farmers on modern livestock feeding systems, livestock rearing best practices, vaccination of livestock, disease management and other relevant information that increase the chances of productivity and profitability in the business.
The feed program will provide an institutional framework that ensures that farmers are able to maximize the value of their investment as well as improve income by introducing them to more nutritious and high yield feed.
Also speaking at the event, the State Governor, Jibrilla raised confidence on the project, while expressing appreciation to NIRSAL for the strategic decision to kick-start the program in Adamawa state.
“Cattle rearing is a very important part of Adamawa economy. Its prevalence amongst ordinary people makes the sector an effective catalyst for dealing with poverty and increasing the standards of living and fostering inclusive economic growth. NIRSAL’s efforts in this direction with its partner NUSRAN is perfectly in line with our plans and we are happy to see it take off,” said Jibrilla who was represented by the Deputy Governor Martins Balale at the official launch.
The launch of the program comes on the back of NIRSAL’s comprehensive Train the Trainer workshop for building technical capacity of livestock improving their efficiencies which was concluded in July.
About 100 livestock farmers were taught by agriculture experts on best practices in feed finishing and related areas.