The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has called on governments at all levels to give needed attention to the dairy subsector of the economy through adequate budgetary allocation.
The call was made by the National President of the association, Baba Ngelzarma, who lamented that the only support MACBAN used to get from the government was the vaccination of cows, while also pointing out that with adequate funding, the nation could become a major hub for milk exports and other value chains in the livestock industry.
The MACBAN chairman explained that though Nigeria has the largest population of livestock compared with neighboring countries, the country produces less milk due to neglect of the sector, stressing that livestock will contribute significantly to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with the government’s support.
He also commented on the need for the government to adopt a model of ranching that is suitable to the peculiarities of the pastoralists to enable its successful implementation, such as transforming the grazing reserves into community ranching.
Ngelzarma explained that such a model would involve the fencing of the entire ranch, the provision of accommodation, and the training of the pastoralists to propagate pasture within and create a sense of ownership in them.
“It will also enhance revenue generation from pastoralists, livestock registration, and other value chain benefits. The ranching concept that was introduced under the Livestock Transformation Plan is not one that will solve the problem.”.
“These pastoralists are doing cattle business as a business and as a way of life, and most of them are smallholder farmers who have not more than 20 or 30 cows in their herds; this is their only source of livelihood,” he said.