Agric Ministry, ACAN Livestock Summit’ll address NLTP’s misconceptions ― Official
Ahead of the Summit on Livestock Transformation Plan co-organized by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, FMARD, and Agriculture Correspondents Association of Nigeria, ACAN, the Director of Animal Husbandry Department of Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Winnie Lai-Solarin, expressed optimism that the Summit will address misconceptions and reports about the National Livestock Transformation Plan, NLTP.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja, Lai-Solarin said the Summit is long overdue to address reactions, sentiments and misconceptions surrounding the NLTP.
She made it known that various stakeholders including media practitioners, experts, industry players, policy makers, National Assembly members, State governors, farmers, herders, and others will be in attendance.
According to her, the purpose of the summit whose theme, ‘Positioning the Nigerian Livestock Industry for the 21st Century Economy: A Critical Look at the National Livestock Transformation Plan’ will also focus on boosting feed production in order to reduce high cost of the commodity, hence tackle high food prices.
She said: “The Summit is coming at this time because it is about time it happened and in the pages of newspapers, discussions around the National Livestock Transformation Plan, NLTP, has been seen differently depending on who is reporting, discussing and trying to implement based on the strategy that has been laid down.
“So this time around partnering with Agriculture Correspondents Association of Nigeria, ACAN, will create awareness and correct a lot of misconceptions; the reportage we should change it straight because you know that the correspondents themselves will be there.
“If the media is fully aware of what government is and fully understand what we are talking about.
“Well, we see farmer-herder conflict as maybe political, cultural, environmental, and something that has to do with misunderstanding between the farmer and herder.
“Not necessarily fighting over resources or could be some other fundamental issues, all these issues will come to the fore and fully understand really what we are talking about.
“The farmer-herder conflicts in Nigeria have been for a very long time, it only just escalated because of again what we have read and what people have been told, and misconceptions.
“So this Summit will again address this misconception and try to put out in proper perspective exactly what this crisis is all about, and what government is doing to mitigate this conflict.”
She also explained that key players in the livestock industry will look at the very many areas of the NLTP beyond just what was launched together to run from 2019 to 2028.
“And the pillars have been provided, and then we dive deep into the implementation. What have we been doing? Because everywhere you hear “what are they doing about NLTP, the government is doing nothing about NLTP.” That is not correct. Government has been working assiduously to bring about transformation and the livestock industry.
“So it is about time we documented some of these interventions, achievements and different activities that are being geared; programmes, projects that are being geared towards actualizing the NLTP.
“So this programme is coming at a very, very good time to clear the air about NLTP, and to bring states and non-state actors to talk about NLTP, to even allow the media to air their own views about it and to highlight what they have been thinking about NLTP, then look at it and say really what it is and if it is so, can we better it, and which areas do we need as state and non-state actors to also look at it in trying to bring about this transformation in the livestock industry?
However, she pointed that, “The Nigeria livestock industry has not received this type of attention for so many years. So this Summit, like so many other summits and programmes on the livestock industry is another way of drawing attention or showcasing what has been done.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman of ACAN, John Oba, explained the essence of ACAN’s collaboration with the Ministry of Agric, which is to x-ray the livestock sub-sector as a major pillar of the global food system and a contributor to poverty reduction, food security and agricultural development.
“In Nigeria, livestock play a major role in sustainable food systems, according to experts, the country’s livestock sector has a huge economic potential worth over N33 trillion, such sector should never be ignored.
“That is why development of policies like the National Livestock Breed Improvement Programme, NALBIP, National Livestock Transformation Plan, NLTP, and among others are welcome ideas.
“We would have critically dissected the NLTP and the inherent investment opportunities that abound in the sector would have been exposed, highlighted and projected for the private sector, and donor agencies to participate actively. All the misconceptions held by Nigerians on the real intentions of government for initiating the NLTP would have been dispelled”, Oba said.