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Nigeria’s federal government said it is committed to boost egg and meat production in the country so as to improve the wellbeing of Nigerians, and in the same token create jobs for many others involved in poultry production.
Muhammed Sabo Nanono, the minister of agriculture and rural development, (FMARD), speaking in Umuahia, Abia State on the federal government’s support to small, medium and large-scale poultry farmers, said the government, realising the adverse effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on the health of millions of Nigerians, amid other challenges, was duty-bound to raise its strategy to boost egg and meat production.
The ministry, in collaboration with a federal lawmaker, Sam Onuigbo, distributed different poultry inputs to small-holder poultry famers in Ikwuano and Umuahia in Abia. The inputs include: 100 galvanized battery cages, 2,100 point-of-lay (POL), and 400 bags of feeds.
Some 100 poultry farmers benefitted from the items. Each of them got 35 point-of-lay birdies, four bags of feeds and one galvanized battery cage.
For agriculture minister Nanono, the aim is to get each of the poultry famers increase their egg output and increase chicken meat production, which will in turn, create more jobs for millions of Nigerians.
He advised the beneficiaries to utilize the knowledge and resources provided for them effectively, and be employers of labour.
The agriculture minister commended Onuigbo for collaborating with the ministry on the poultry boost programme. He lauded the lawmaker for advancing the poultry value-chain in the state, adding that it would further improve affordability and accessibility of eggs, poultry meat, as well as employment creation for existing and new poultry farmers, and improve protein intake for Nigerians.
Nigeria is said to have one of the lowest animal protein consumption in the world, with the diet of an average Nigerian running 20 times lower than recommended requirement by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), a UN agency.
Meanwhile, experts at the Nigerian Institute of Animal Science (NIAS) say Nigeria’s poultry and livestock production and productivity must increase by at least six-fold, for the country to satisfy the huge gap in animal protein consumption.
For Onuigbo, the federal lawmaker, the distribution of the poultry inputs to the farmers was all about creating alternative means of livelihood for them. He urged all the beneficiaries to make maximum use of the opportunity.
“This is the chance to set you on an important course. You must be aware that you must work hard and be diligent to be able to succeed,” he said.
He said between November 23 to 28 last year, he organized measured entrepreneurship development programme where 1,500 youths and women from the constituency were trained on how to start and manage small businesses. At the end of the training, the trainees were provided with start-up stipends. It was in line with his vision, and considering the high unemployment level in the country, creating alternative means of livelihood for the people is the solution, said Onuigbo.