Lockdown: NIAS urges FG to off-take livestock produce




The Nigerian Institute of Animal Science (NIAS) has said that the current lockdown and movement restriction enforced by government to contain the spread of Coronavirus may cause the value of the livestock industry to dwindle.

It therefore called on the federal government to off-take the products (such as eggs, milk, meat, whose production cannot be stopped) from the farmers and distribute same to the citizenry as palliative measures for the period of the pandemic.

A statement signed by NIAS President, Professor Israel Adu and the Registrar, Professor Eaustace Iyayi, said herdsmen/pastoralists should be allowed to graze their animals freely while government should ensure that the livestock industry is exempted from restriction planed on movement.

The Institute said the Poultry industry for example with about 200 million birds and a total value of over N16 trillion cannot be allowed to collapse

“We also call on the government to exempt operators in the livestock industry from the restriction in movement.

“The Poultry industry for example with about 200 million birds and a total value of over N16 trillion cannot be allowed to collapse.

“Also related to it are the feed industry and hatcheries on which the poultry subsector depends.

“Personnel working in the livestock sector should, upon proper identification, be allowed movement across state boarders and within the state.

“We pledge our total support for and ready collaboration with the government in the effort to overcome this common, unseen but deadly enemy that threatens our very existence”, the statement said.

While expressing worry over the spread of the deadly disease, NIAS commended the government for the efforts made so far in stopping the spread of the virus.

“The entire membership is awestruck with the way the Coronavirus crept into the global community and the deadliness with which the COVID 19 pandemic has heen ravaging the nations.

“We are particularly worried with the speed it has been spreading in our country Nigeria since the first index case was reported.

“We commend President Muhammadu Buhari, the Federal Government, the various state governments and other relevant agencies for the response and the mobilization of resources, both human and material to stem the tide so far

“We equally commend the government for the measures taken so far to prevent further spread of the virus”, the statement noted.

Furthermore, NIAS pledged its  support to government in ensuring that the spread of the disease is contained.

“We note that measures like shutting down of offices, markets, worship centers, event centers, cinemas, restaurants, shutting of state borders, etc which are although painful will help stop the spread of the virus.

“As Professional Animal Scientists and Animal Husbandry Officers we have placed our members on standby nationwide to be called upon for voluntary services in time of need to save the livestock indutry during a complete national lockdown and in states where these measures are currently being enforced.

“Realizing that livestock producers and operators in ancillary services, which are important to the livestock value chains will be affected as in all situations of disaster, we will collaborate with government to offer our expertise to ameliorate the hardship these operators will face.

“Our Community Animal Husbandry Offcers have been alerted to offer services to operators in the rural areas and remote communities where such services will be required.

“In order to cushion the effect the pandemic will have on livestock producers arising from the lockdown, we call on the government to adopt the model of off-taking the products (such as eggs, milk, meat, whose production cannot be stopped) from the farmers and distributing same to the people palliative measure for the period of the pandemic Our Zonal Offices in the geopolitical zones are ready to swing into action if so considered and directed”, the statement added.

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