THE Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, through its Department of Animal Husbandry Services in conjunction with Real People Concept Limited, has inaugurated the national livestock breed improvement programme, in the State of Osun.
The programme, which was said to be going on in some other states of the federation, is targeted at improving indigenous cattle breeds for dairy production.
Speaking during the flag off ceremony held for the project in the state at Makaiza Farms, Iwoye-Ijesa, Oriade local government of the state, consultant for the project, Mr Tunmise Olagbaju, said the programme is aimed at improving indigenous cattle breeds for dairy production.
Olagbaju said: “The programme is actually to improve our indigenous cattle breeds for dairy production and this involves artificial insemination with exotic dairy breeds to our indigenous cows so that the offsprings they produce will produce more milk so that is the essence of the programme.
“The main target is to increase milk production of the indigenous cows to livestock farmers. And when these cattle produce more milk, it means more income for the farmers. Farmers can have more revenue for their labour.
While stressing the need for farmers to participate in the programme, Olagbaju noted: “It is important for farmers to participate in the programme so that they can also benefit.
“The insemination is going to be done with sex semen because we are focusing on dairy, so it is sex specific that means that more than 95 percent of all the offspring will be female.
“There is possibility of male but is should not be more than five percent. All the offspring we are expecting from the programme will be female.”
While commenting on the breed improvement methods adopted for the programme, Olagbaju listed introduction of exotic genetics which the government is doing and selection.
“We have not done anything on selection, even this artificial insemination the government is doing, there is no plan for selection. I am aware that there is national livestock identification and trackability programme that is ongoing. I do not know how far it has gone.
“There is a need for us to have a programme where we can monitor the development of these animals. There must be a way to follow them up, to select the highly performing ones. This will help us to be able to identify next generation of cattle that are highly performing.”
In his address, Coordinator, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, State of Osun, Mr. Sunday Atoyebi, called on cattle farmers and other stakeholders in the state to support the programme and key into it.
He noted that: “All hands must be on deck so that this programme can boost meat production on the state and bring about economic growth and development of Nigeria.