The Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association (NVMA) has called for the implementation of modern livestock management while keeping animals to curb the lingering clash between herdsmen and farmers which has claimed many lives.
Professor Bello Agaie, the NVMA President made this call while briefing newsmen the outcome of its Annual Summit and Investiture Ceremony held on March this year in Abuja.
He explained that the modern livestock management ensures that animals are kept in an enclosure which makes it difficult for them to roam.
He said in modern animal management, an enclosure is built for the animals so that they wouldn’t roam, and the animals are fed and controlled, therefore, the crisis which arose as a result of roaming would have been taken care of.
According to him, “This is a very big challenge to the country, and we are worried, however, we had some practices before where we have Cattle routes, grazing reserves and others that were left for us by the colonial government, after a very long time because agriculture wasn’t the mainstay of our economy, we abandoned those particular practices and we just went on doing our things the way want to do, today it has catch up with us and we are now facing those crisis”.
He said however the government has been making some efforts to address this challenge through setting up a Committee which the Association is represented. He expressed optimism that the outcome of the the Committee would go along way in addressing the issues.
“For us, I think the government has made some efforts, there was a committee that was set up by the government on cattle rustling and farmers/herders clash which was chaired by one of the Assistant Inspector General of Police, and that committee, our Association is represented, the committee has been working from various angles to see how this challenge can actually be addressed”, Professor Agaie said.
“But for us we believe that definitely with time the position of the Association is that we need to move away from the traditional practice of managing livestock, we may not be able to do it very soon, but I think government needs to put more effort to see how they can begin to give other Nigerians and also herdsmen the opportunity to set up modern livestock farms, improve feeding, improved genetic make up of our animal so that with vary few animals we can get what we are getting with a large number if animals.
“However, it is not something we will wake up and want to do in a day, if you take example of the Poultry sector, we still keep our local chickens, however it’s not the local chickens that most of us eat today, it is those chickens that are in modernized farms, where you will go to a small enclosure and you will be seeing about 500,000 chickens on a small farm, this is what we need to do with the issue of cattle and other ruminants that will move from one direction to another, but government needs to provide the incentive and the enabling environment for that happen, they did that to the Poultry sector, that is why over a period of time everybody is using battery cages instead of allowing chickens to run around.
“Now the moment we are able to move majority of our producers to embrace that approach by providing the enabling environment, over a period of time, you will realize that this other system of moving from one point to another will gradually decline and some of these challenges will phase off, but we need to be very patient with ourselves for now as Nigerians that until when we are able to move gradually we may not be able to phase out this process as a whole”.
Speaking in some of the recommendations of the at the summit, Professor Agaie said “the summit charges all members of NVMA nationwide to be involved and show concerns in situation of emergency involving Animal and man in line with the ethics of the profession.
“The summit acknowledge the effort of the National Assembly in passing bills needed to strengthen the laws governing veterinary profession in line with global best practices. The summit frowns at multiple taxation of Agricultural produce and calls for collaborations of the stakeholders to curtail it.
“The summit frowns at cumbersome nature of disease reporting system and recommend digitization for better data management and accessibility. The summit noted the incessant outbreak of Avian Influenza and advised stakeholders to observe the global best practices to checkmate diseases in their farms”.