To improve indigenous cattle breeds for dairy production, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, through its Department of Animal Husbandry Services, in a partnership with Real People Concept Limited, has inaugurated the National Livestock Breed Improvement Programme in Osun State. The development, which is ongoing in some other states of the federation, is aimed at improving indigenous cattle breeds for dairy production.
The same programme was held in 2022 at Oyo, Niger, Kaduna, Katsina and Taraba states. Speaking during the flag-off ceremony for the project in Osun State at the Makaiza Farms, Iwoye-Ijesha, the Project Consultant and Animal Scientist/Managing Director, Real People Concept Limited, Mr. Tunmise 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 the cattle produce more milk, it means more income for the farmers. Farmers can have more revenue for their labour. Instead of producing two litres of milk per day, they can produce between eight and 15 litres of milk per cow, per day. That is an elevation in their revenue and that will enhance productivity and profitability. The insemination is going to be done with sex semen because we are focusing on dairy, so it is sex specific and that means that more than 95 per cent of all the offsprings will be female.
“There is a possibility of male, but it should not be more than five per cent. All the offspring we are expecting from the programme will be female”, he said. Making comments on the breed improvement methods adopted for the programme, Olagbaju mentioned the introduction of exotic genetics, which the government was currently doing and its 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 a national livestock identification and traceability programme that is ongoing. I do not know how far it had 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 the next generation of cattle that are highly performing”, he added.
The Coordinator, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Osun State, Mr. Sunday Atoyebi, urged cattle farmers and relevant stakeholders in the state to support the programme and key into it by promoting the programme among themselves. He said, “All hands must be on deck so that this programme can boost meat production in the state and bring about economic growth and development of Nigeria. I want to also use this very special moment to thank Makaiza Farm Limited for their efforts in nation building through agriculture and provision of job opportunities for the youth”, as the Farm Manager, Makaiza Farms Limited, Mr. Abayomi Agunbiade, lauded the Federal Government for the initiative, while assuring all of maximum cooperation.