Expert highlights role of livestock farming in attainment of UN SDGs

By Emmanuel Afonne

A Professor of Animal Science, Grace Jokthan, has highlighted the importance of livestock as the country march towards achieving the United Nations (UN) Sustaining Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

Jokthan, who is a member of the Governing Council, National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), spoke in Abuja while delivering the 18th inaugural lecture of the institution.

She said achieving rapid livestock production would play an important role in Nigeria’s attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the eradication of poverty and hunger thereby guaranteeing healthy lives.

“The SDGs adopted by member States of the United Nations in 2015 is a universal call for action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.

“The availability of adequate livestock feed source has been linked to reduction in poverty, hunger, malnutrition and the economic well-being of the populace.

“In Nigeria like most developing countries, many of the poor rural households have 1-3 livestock and rely on them for livelihood.

“The contribution of these livestock to poverty reduction and improvement of living standard has not been fully appreciated, yet in some households, livestock remains the only source of income for meeting household needs.

“The livestock sector can contribute in multiple ways to ending hunger (SDG2) and all forms of malnutrition (SDG3) through increasing the direct consumption of nutritious animal-source foods, income and revenue generation, foreign exchange and job creation.

“The world livestock and its products are assets to human livelihoods and, through quality nutrition, promote human health and well-being,” Jokthan said.

According to her, research shows that men are more likely to own and control larger and more valuable livestock such as cows, bulls and oxen, while women tend to own smaller valuable livestock such as goats and poultry species.

Jokthan added that the bedrock of livestock sector was hinged on the availability of high-quality feed sources and efficient feeding programmes.

Prof. Jokthan in a handshake with Vice Chancellor of NOUN, Prof. Olufemi Peter’s after delivering the 18th inaugural lecture of the institution, in Abuja
Prof. Jokthan in a handshake with Vice Chancellor of NOUN, Prof. Olufemi Peter’s after delivering the 18th inaugural lecture of the institution, in Abuja

She also said that training of farmers, access to information and linkages with stakeholders on the uptake of new technologies were necessary to improve farmers’ knowledge.

“There is need for the introduction of alternative high yielding planted fodders and the development of complete feeds to benefit smallholder farmers.

“This can be achieved through introducing, supporting and building capacity on the formulation of feed rations amongst small scale farmers.

“More investment in research, data accumulation and information sharing between public and private sectors will be a step in the right direction as these feed sources will play an increasingly important role in the future as human and livestock population expands.

Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of NOUN, Prof. Olufemi Peters said he was elated with the achievements of Prof. Jokthan who is currently the Director, Africa Centre of Excellence on Technology Enhanced Learning (ACETEL).

Peters said he almost became a professor of Animal Science but eventually became a professor of chemistry.

He commended Jokthan for her research work and inaugural lecture which dwelt on indigenous feed sources: increasing animal protein supply for improved livelihoods. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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