The Nigerian Institute of Animal Science (NIAS) has confirmed that Nigeria, in spite of challenges in the poultry industry, is the largest egg producer in Africa, with annual production of 650 tonnes, and also possesses a population of 180 million birds, which is the second largest in the continent, after South Africa.
Eustace Iyayi, the registrar of the institute, made the disclosure during a news conference held in preparation for the Joint Annual Meeting of NIAS and Animal Science Association of Nigeria (ASAN), in Abuja.
According to Iyayi, Nigeria produces about 300 tonnes of poultry meat annually as well as contributing 25 percent to the agricultural gross domestic product (GDP), with no fewer than 85 million Nigerians involved in the poultry agribusiness along the value chain.
The registrar, however, bemoaned that the covid-19 pandemic had a negative effect on production, while farmers recorded huge losses in the industry. He further pointed out that the feed sector has not been spared as maize and soybean, two essential ingredients in the industry, were plagued by cultivation and importation lapses, further compounding the problems of the industry.
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Highlighting factors that hindered the growth of the Nigerian animal husbandry industry, he noted that apart from the covid-19 pandemic, insecurity, climate change, rising population and cost of other living expenses have been detrimental to production.
Speaking on the way forward, the animal scientists posited that resilience is required to absorb the shock and reposition for greater heights, while youth restiveness and perennial farmer-herder conflicts need to be effectively tackled.
Iyayi identified the basis for a resurgence of the nation’s economy to include application of technology and innovation to promote production, processing and animal agricultural trade through effective competitiveness.
He also explained that the conference themed “Livestock Resilience in the post-COVID era” and scheduled for September 5 to 9 in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, would seek to address challenges plaguing the animal husbandry industry in the country.
“The outcome of discussions at the meeting will be useful for policy alignment by the government and also help engender developmental research, innovation platforms, among others,” he noted.