More investment in livestock sector will tackle endemic poverty in rural areas – El-Rufai

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United Bank for Africa

Kaduna State Government on Thursday urged Veterinary Practitioners to intensify efforts to revive the neglected livestock sector that is dominantly rural based.

Gov Nasiru El-Rufai disclosed this at the opening of the 2018 Professional Continuing Education Seminar of the Veterinary Council of Nigeria, Northern Zone, in Kaduna.

The governor, who was represented by the State Commissioner for Agriculture and Forestry, Dr Daniel Manzo-Maigari, blamed the current poverty level among Nigerians on neglect of the rural economy, which is dominantly livestock based.

He said the rural economy of the nation lies in the livestock sector, alongside farming.

El-Rufai noted that the neglect of rural economy had contributed to the poverty level among the rural people, who form larger per cent of Nigerians.

According to him, the veterinary practitioners contributed to the failed rural economy, due to activities of quacks among the practitioners.

He said the non-application of proper knowledge of practitioners in supporting the growth of the livestock sub-sector resulted in poor output of livestock products.

“If we are able to update our knowledge in the veterinary profession, we will serve the people better and the sector will grow faster by attracting investments.

“There is little or no good investment in the meat sector, which is in excess of N50 billion revenue annually, in addition to poultry and its products.

“The biggest challenge is poor sanitation, and as we all know, over 60 per cent of diseases that affect humans come from animals and their products,“ he said.

El-Rufai said the situation had also contributed to poor flow of private capital into the state and the country, in general.

According to him, the State Government had established livestock and animal products law, to regulate the sector and address sanitary challenges in processing of animal products in the state.

He said the standardisation of the sector to meat global market would attract private investment and the state would soon commence exporting animal products.

The Governor said the State Government had bonded all its Veterinary Students and are placed on salary in addition to steady employment upon graduation.

He added that the State Government, is working to support the practitioners and to boost the rural economy, while attracting direct investment into the state.

Earlier, the president, Veterinary Council of Nigeria, Prof Garba Sharubutu said the event was organised annually to update practitioners with new skills for better service delivery in the livestock sector.

Sharubutu said new skills would address the challenges facing the livestock sector and issues of food security and output.

He added that the participants at the one-day seminar, over 400 of them, are expected to deliver more efficient services to livestock farmers to effectively grow the rural economy.

A Communiqué is expected at the end of the seminar with the theme: “Sustainable Livestock Production in Nigeria for Global Market.“