14 Major Factors Affecting Animal Production in Nigeria

14 Major Factors Affecting Animal Production in Nigeria

Agriculture, though largely under-developed, is the most important sector to the Nigerian economy after oil of which animal production is a very crucial part. Crop and animal Agriculture should be combined together for best results in the economy.

Nigerian  has  had  and  still  has  very  laudable  agricultural  policies  and  schemes  on  paper  but  yet implementation is a challenge and hunger has persisted in the country for many years and food security has not been guaranteed.

Production is very essential to food security and the development of any nation. It provides:

1. Foreign exchange for the economy

2. Employment for the citizens

3. Rich source of protein which is essential for human nutrition

4. It is a source of prestige

5. Provides income for the citizens

6. Provides drought Power

7. Transportation

8. Provides raw materials for the clothing and shoe industry and by-products can be used in various other industries such as the cosmetic industry.

Animal products are responsible for one-sixth of the human food energy and also more than one-third of the protein requirement on a global basis.

Animal production trends are said to be influenced by strong demand-driven factors such as population growth, urbanization, income growth and changing customer services which are of two categories:

1. Modern demand driven and capital intensive non-ruminant (swine and birds) sector

2. Traditional resource-driven and labour intensive ruminant (cattle, sheep and goats) sector.

Nigeria has 36 states and is the most populous country in Africa with a population of about 170 million as of 2012 (Population 2012) with over 70% of the population living on less than a dollar a day.

By the  year  2050 the  projected  population will  be  402 million  making Nigeria  the 4th  most populous country on earth after India, China and the United States (Population 2012). 

With a fast growing population Nigeria is threatened with the problem of food insecurity and poverty which can be addressed with a more developed animal production sector in addition to other sectors.

The  average  Nigerian  still  consumes  far  less  animal  protein  than  his  counterpart in the developed world because the animal production industry is still in its infancy due to hydra-headed problems and the per capita income is low leading to a consumption of less than 9grams of animal protein per capita per day as compared to over 50 grams per capita per day in North America and Europe. 

Some countries even in the developing world are already considering novel approaches to meat production such as in-vitro meat production but in Nigeria animal production is facing numerous challenges with certain factors militating against successful animal production.

In this article, we will scrutinize 14 major factors affecting animal production in Nigeria


14 Main factors Affecting Animal Production in Nigeria

14 Major Factors Affecting Animal Production in Nigeria

The following are the major factors Affecting Animal Production in Nigeria:

1. Lack of capital

2. High cost of animal feeds

3. Animal Diseases

4. Access to veterinary services-Vaccines and drugs

5. High Level of illiteracy among farmers

6. The role of the government

7. Urbanization

8. Market and storage facilities

9. Insufficient Extension services

10. Insufficient manpower

11. Inadequate Transportation service

12. Inadequate basic infrastructure

13. Climatic and environmental factors

14. Attitude to animal production

Let us explain in details one after another.

1. Lack of capital: One of the most crucial factors of production known to man is capital. Capital is needed to set up an animal production and processing farm and capital is needed to sustain productivity. One of the major constraints of the animal industry especially in developing countries like Nigeria is capital.

Financial inadequacies have led to slow growing animal industries or moribund ones or even destroyed animal production industries. Low income earners who dominate the animal industry are not able to cope with the demands of the industry especially when production is not at its optimum level.

Apart from the poultry industry most of the animal production activities in Nigeria are concentrated in the northern part of the country which has an even lower income power than the southern part.

This implies that farmers are not able to afford a lot of infrastructural and other facilities that they need for maximum productivity. To worsen matters loan facilities are hardly available and where they are available there are lots of bottle-necks and constraints to accessing such loans. Many of the farmers involved in animal production have to find other sources of income to better the quality of life of their families.

In a study in Kwara  State of  Nigeria  it  was discovered  that  in farming  families  the  prevalence  of child  stunting underweight and wasting was lower in families with off-farm income than the families who did not have.

2. High cost of animal feeds: Nutritious animal feeds are essential for full development and productivity of animals. Animal feeds are not readily available and where they are they are not easily  affordable for  an average farmer. 

Since farmers go into animal production for profit they need to obtain feed at a price where they do not only break-even: but also make reasonable profit. Perhaps the livestock industry of ruminants does not feel the impact as much as the poultry industry which is mostly intensive in nature requiring constant supply of feeds for  maximum productivity  unlike the  livestock which  can still be  fed on pastures  and forage or allowed to scavenge for food.

Due to the high cost of feeds various research alternatives have been sought for other means of providing animal feeds to ameliorate the effects of cost of feed such as the use of activated sludge.

Many livestock and poultry farmers compound their own feed themselves for their farm animals but they face the challenges of raw materials for compounding the feed which may be very expensive or unavailable.

3. Animal Diseases: Livestock diseases remain a veritable threat to the animal production industry. Animal products are constantly under threat by diseases that affect livestock and hence reduce productivity.

Endemic animal diseases such as Helminthosis, Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP), brucellosis, mastitis, peste des petits ruminants (PPR), and many others have devastating impacts upon the  animal  industry  leading  to  losses  in  hundreds  of  millions  of  dollars  every  year  in  developing economies like Nigeria. Brucellosis alone in sheep and goats of Borno and Yobe states of Nigeria is estimated to cost the economy USD 3.2 million annually.

The poultry industry is even more devastated by viral infections such as Newcastle disease and Infectious bursal disease (Gumboru) in spite of several attempts at vaccinations. Some of the reasons for these may be vaccine failure and the involvement of quacks in fighting these endemic animal diseases in the country. 

4. Access to veterinary services-Vaccines and drugs: Most  animal  production  activities  are  located  in  rural  areas  or  remote  areas  inaccessible  to  proper veterinary services and  many that  are accessible  find the high cost of veterinary services  prohibitive.

Hence they resort to easily available quacks that wreak havoc on the animal industry by using expired vaccines, fake drugs and wrong prescriptions for treating diseases. Sub-standard and all manner of low quality drugs and vaccines are in the market now and can easily be purchased and used by practically almost. In order to have a viable and good animal production system in the country the government should subsidize veterinary services to farmers.

5. High level of illiteracy among farmers: It is a well-known fact that most farmers have a low level of education or are even illiterates making it difficult for  them to  employ modern  animal production  techniques  where traditional techniques  have failed  or  yielded  less  profit. 

A  study  carried  out in  Osun  state  has  found  that education  level  had  significant and positive relationship with average production. This means the  higher the  educational level  of  farmers the  higher  the productivity  of  their farms. 

Therefore, farms managed by educated entrepreneurs will perform better than those managed by illiterates. It will be a good idea and for the development of the animal production to have more graduates encouraged into animal production to develop the sector. Such graduates will bring in modern animal production methods that guarantee food security in the country and the development of animal production.

6. The role of the government: The failed policies of the government are most of the times inimical to the progress of the animal industry. Sometimes politicians ban the importation of goods not readily available in the country in an attempt to help home grown industries but without providing viable alternatives.

An example is the shortage  of  feeds  and  sky-rocketing  high  prices  due  to  scarcity  of  soya cake in the country. The government has tried loan schemes and policies through mainly banks for decades right from the 1970s but this  has  often  met  with  failure due  to  many  factors  bordering  on  proper  implementation over the years.

Good loans for maximum animal productivity are lacking and access roads are not there to facilitate smooth movement of animal products from farm to fork. The poultry industry sometimes suffers from egg glut and the government can help by mopping up eggs to prevent egg glut as happens in some developed economies such as the United States and the United Kingdom where such eggs can be given to schools as part of the school food program but in Nigeria such government incentives are rare and individual farmers are left to suffer losses for no fault of theirs. 

In the developed world farmers and animal industry workers have access to modern technology such as telecommunication facilities and affordable internet.

This helps in addressing emergencies on the farm such as giving an emergency call to a veterinarian to visit the farm or advertising their animal products online to reach a world-wide market.

Science and technology are very crucial to national development in all facets and must be employed for development. The Nigerian government seems to be heading in this direction with the recent initiative to buy ten million hand phones for farmers to boost  their  production  and  communication  capacity  with  the  world  outside  their.

Government can also help more in the area of transportation because most farmers are low income earners they are not able to afford modern means of transport and have to rely on traditional methods or inefficient and unorganized public transportation to convey for example animals meant for slaughter and human consumption.

Transportation is also very important in connecting the rural to the urban areas. Another important area where the government has failed is the area of security.

In recent years animal production investors especially poultry farmers have lost large sums of money due to inability to sell their products due to the threat of terrorist attacks in the country.

Insecurity in the country is inimical to the development of the animal production and other industries and a threat to the national economy which must not be taken lately as it has the potential to ground the whole economy. In the midst of such circumstances government can help farmers by providing alternatives outlets for their products such as buying off eggs and using them as food programs in schools in parts of the country not affected by the conflict.

Also read: Brief Historical Development and Roles of Animal Production in Nigeria

7. Urbanization: There  is  rapid  urbanization  in  many  developing  countries  which  comes  at  a  high  price  to  animal productivity due to neglect of animal farming as a result of mass rural-urban drift for better standards of living and yet increased demand for animal products is the order of the day.

A study has shown that from the year 1961 to 2001 there has been a dramatic increase in the consumption of meat in developing countries due to urbanization and industrialization.

This urbanization is usually associated with higher income which increases the purchasing power of individuals leading to higher demands for better quality food which entails a good amount of animal protein in the food  unlike  the  normal  rural  food  which  has  less  animal  protein  and  more  carbohydrate  and  fats.

Urbanization also leads to constraints of space due to overcrowding arising from population explosion in the cities. This implies that there will be less opportunity for animal production as emphasis shifts to rapid industrialization. 

Nigerian cities like Lagos consume a lot of meat mainly brought from some northern  parts of the country like  Borno state which accounts for  about a  quarter of all ruminant livestock population in the to  provide the animal protein need  of a city  with a  population of more  than 12 million people.    

8. Market and storage facilities: Market for animal products is crucial for the sustainability of the industry. The animal production market is poorly organized and often farmers lose instead of making profit because most animal products are perishable goods that expire within a short period of time.

A rapidly developing country like China has over the years rapidly developed its animal production industry leading to a meat industry revolution with international processing and storage facilities good enough for local consumption of a large population and export which is a contrast to the situation in Nigeria with the largest population in Africa and significant animal population but the market and storage facilities are still mostly primitive.

To encourage maximum animal productivity there should be provision for storage of animal products in deep freezers and other storage facilities that are now been used with technological advancement.

Employing modern methods of meat preservation will help Nigeria to grow its animal production to be able to take part in international trade and better the economy of the nation. 

9. Insufficient Extension services: Extension services are crucial in promoting good agricultural and farming practices among our animal industry stakeholders. The livestock industry can produce more than it is doing currently if the farmers are well enlightened on certain aspects of production. 

A good number of Nigerian Universities and other institutions offer courses on Agricultural extension services but the number of graduates each year that  end up in the actual profession of Agricultural extension are still grossly inadequate compared with the  population involved in farming and the locations of those they are supposed to service.

Extension workers provide technical advice to farmers on techniques for maximum productivity and advise on market related matters with the ultimate aim of ensuring the farmers succeed in their chosen vocation and contribute meaningfully to the economy of the nation.

Well trained extension service workers could be deployed to help train farmers in remote locations and get answers to their questions. This training could be strategically positioned at farmers who command a lot of market and followership who will in turn influence other farmers.

Unfortunately in Nigeria the number of qualified agricultural extension workers is grossly inadequate to make meaningful impact on the economy of a nation with a large population like Nigeria.

In some remote areas such extension services are lacking completely and farmers are left to use their traditional knowledge to improve animal productivity. One of the greatest challenges of extension services in Nigeria in spite of the intervention of a World Bank assisted project is the ability to secure the commitment of government and mobilizing local funds to sustain the service.

10. Insufficient manpower: There is a short supply of, especially, skilled labour in the animal production industry in Nigeria for example in some quarters one man does the work of many people leading to inefficiency in productivity. This is a point for major concern because of the potentials of a nation of over 170 million people (Population 2012).

If more people are encouraged to go into animal production like in China Nigeria will have adequate manpower involved in animal production. There is inadequate labour supply in the country and many times farmers have to hire temporary workers or forfeit it at the detriment of their farms due to costs.

It is gratifying to note that women like their men counterparts are actively involved in animal production in Nigeria. But in spite of all these the manpower is still inadequate for the industry and for sustainable animal production. 

11. Inadequate Transportation service: Transportation is very important to the industry. Lack of access roads to farms and from farms to the market hampers the development of the animal production industry. The movement of animal products from production to consumption points requires good transport networks that do either not exist or in very bad shape in the Nigerian context.

Many of the methods used in Nigeria for transporting ruminants from the north to the south of the country go against standard animal welfare procedures for the safety and welfare of the animals because most times the animals are under undue stress as they are overcrowded in trailers for mass transport making them sustained traumatic injuries and stress that affects their health and productivity.

There is a need to improve on these transport systems for maximum animal production because good transport is essential for food security.

12. Inadequate basic infrastructure: Many African countries have problems with infrastructure for animal production and Nigeria is not an exception. There is generally a lack of proper mechanized animal farming using modern infrastructure such as improved milking machines that could reduce the incidence of diseases like mastitis and good animal houses to help productivity of the animals by focusing on intensive farming  instead  of  allowing  small ruminants  for  example, to  roam  about scavenging  for food  and  the large ruminants invading crop farms in the community and destroying harvests meant for human consumption an issue which has often been a source of communal conflicts.

There is also the perennial problem of electricity supply in Nigeria which is a major setback for the livestock industry. It means meat has to be prepared for consumption immediately after slaughter or additional costs of utilizing generating plants to store the meat will be incurred. Water supply is also inadequate even though it is very essential to have water always for maximum animal productivity.

13. Climatic and environmental factors: Certain climatic factors are natural and some are man-made due to human activities but affect animal production. In the northern part of Nigeria desert encroachment is already a major environmental problem.

Animals are an important part of the renewable energy for the country which is beneficial to the environmental  but  with human activities such as deforestation this potential is diminished as animal production is affected. One of the reasons for constant deforestation is the failure of the government to provide alternative reliable sources of fuel for the people.

As the desert encroaches in the northern part of the country the nomadic Fulani who are the main custodians of cattle in Nigeria are forced to keep migrating southwards in  search  of  pasture  for  their  cattle  and  expose  their  animals  to  diseases  of  the  rainforest  such  as Trypanosomosis  which  will  affect  productivity  of  the  animals. 

The  constant  movement  of  the  nomadic  Fulani  in  search  of  pasture  because  of traditional animal production systems inherited over centuries also makes disease control difficult.

Some natural disasters like flood affect agricultural produce and animal production. Sometimes many animals as well as humans are killed by these natural disasters in addition to losses suffered by survivors in different forms.

14. Attitude to animal production: People’s attitude to animal husbandry and production is very poor. Some young people in Nigeria think animal production is only for the elderly or sometimes retired government staff but youths are known to do very well in animal production when they diligently go into it.

Some believe that animal production is for illiterates or the jobless in the society unlike what is obtained in developed economies where the wealthy and educated are leading the way in animal farming with animal farm empires. When the attitude of the people is wrong one can only expect a decline in the rise of the animal production industry. Attitudinal change is a sine qua non for improved animal productivity in Nigeria.

One of the ways the citizens’ attitude can be improved is by strategically organized seminars and workshops targeting different echelons of the society by the department of veterinary services and the federal livestock departments at various levels. 

When people are properly informed they will see the great potentials in this sector and will invest more in animal production leading to the rapid development and expansion of the industry in the country.



Conclusion on 14 Major Factors Affecting Animal Production in Nigeria

The development of the Nigerian animal production industry is of serious importance from the socio-economic and public health point of view.

From the socio-economic perspective it will empower the employees and employers of the animal industry in the nation and raise their purchasing power thereby improving the national economy. 

From  the  public  health  perspective  a  good  animal  industry  will eliminate the threats of infectious diseases that are particularly zoonotic in nature thereby guaranteeing public health.

In order to achieve all these militating factors must be addressed at all stages and levels by entrepreneurs, the government and the entire national community. Addressing these factors will guarantee a better economy and food security for the citizenry.

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