By Salisu Sani-Idris, Abuja.
Dr Ramatu Aliyu, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister of State, on Tuesday launched a livestock development and implementation plan, with a gestation period of 10 years.
Speaking at the event in Abuja, Aliyu stated that the plan was aimed at facilitating and enhancing the provision of critical infrastructure.
She said that it was also to resolve all social impediments toward the full development of the four grazing reserves in the territory.
The minister noted that the agricultural sector contributed about 22.36 per cent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the first quarter of 2022, with the livestock sub-sector contributing about 7 per cent.
She, however, regretted that the potentials that would enable the efficient growth of the sector had yet to be activated.
Aliyu said: “While this underscores sector and sub-sector relevance in economic growth, achieving targeted growth in livestock output has been slow.
“Projections showed that there is an exponential rise in human populations, especially in urban settings like the FCT.
“Therefore, the demand for livestock products, such as poultry meat, beef and milk, will grow without a commensurate capacity of the livestock industry to meet needs.”
The minister pledged that the FCT Administration (FCTA) would provide the needed environment for the operators to excel.
“The present FCT Administration is relying on the strategic location of the FCT, with a livestock route network of over 300 kilometres.
“There is also population growth, affluence of residents, favourable climatic conditions and abundant water resources.
“It is also relying on a good road network and air link and access to evolving standard gauge rail networks, to make the FCT a preferred destination for livestock operators.
“We remain convinced that with all hands on deck, there are no targets that cannot be achieved,” she said.
Aliyu commended stakeholders’ engagement and participation that had yielded the desired results.
“Our work with Nestlé Nigeria Plc. to pilot an innovative community-based dairy value chain development in one of our grazing reserves, has seen milk collection grow by about 900 per cent in the past year.
“And we are poised to activate more of such partnerships to deepen impacts,” she said.
Earlier, the FCTA Permanent Secretary, Mr Adesola Olusade, said that the dynamic approach was in tune with modern institutional governance.
He said that it laid emphasis on structured planning as a necessary prerequisite to successful programmes implementation.
Olusade, who was represented by the Director, Human Resource Management, Malam Mohammed Bashir, also said that the FCT was blessed with abundant potentials in the livestock sub-sector.
“That is why the FCT Administration has given deserved attention to the sector and the interest shown by the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) and Islamic Development Bank (IsDB).
“This is in funding the establishment of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ), that is expected to provide an additional boost to the livestock sector,” he said.
Also speaking, Malam Abubakar Ibrahim, Mandate Secretary for the FCT Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, reiterated that the FCTA was putting in place, structures and policies that would attract investors in the sector.
He added that such structures would also support the activities of smallholder livestock farmers.
He, however commended Aliyu for her passion for the growth of the agricultural sector and the development of the action plan toward repositioning the livestock sector in the territory.