The Federal Government is set to explore the promotion and development of donkey value chain in Nigeria. Donkeys are among the most underrated resources in Nigeria’s agricultural policies and programmes, despite being one of the most useful resources in the agriculture sector. The Government, as a result, is meeting with the relevant stakeholders to identify challenges facing donkey breeding, develop large scale sustained production of donkeys, and create intervention programmes to support existing and prospective donkey farmers in the country.
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, through the Department of Animal Husbandry Services, today held a meeting with the relevant stakeholders to discuss and make observations of the difficulties and challenges that face the breeding of donkeys, advance a long lasting system of widescale production of the livestock, and enumerate intervention measures to support existing and potential donkey farmers in Nigeria.
Dr Abubakar Mu’azu, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, who was ably represented by the Ministry’s Director of Special Duties, Mrs Fausat Lawal, said that donkeys have received little or no attention from the Government compared to other kinds of livestock, even though they have been of essential use to the local economies and are a reliably resilient resource to many communities.
According to Mu’azu, it is to address this and avoid possible case of extinction of donkeys in the country, that the 43rd Regular Meeting of the National Council on Agriculture and Rural Development, NCARD, which was held in April 2019, approved the setting up of Donkey Value Chain in the Department of Animal Husbandry Services. He said it was foresaw that the decision will attract attention from the relevant stakeholders including the Federal Government, Development Partners, and the private sector to consider researching, developing and investing in the the breeding and multiplication of donkeys.
Mu’azu said donkeys are one of the ancient domesticated livestocks valued for their ability to survive in harsh conditions; as well as vital for rural transportation and farming particularly in the northern part of Nigeria.
Donkeys, Dr Mu’azu added, also support the livelihoods of the rural population in many domestic chores. He said Nigeria is one of the countries with a relatively large population of donkey estimated at about 974,499, which is largely due to cross-border movements by pastoral herdsmen from Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali and Cameroun.
“This stakeholders’ engagement has become imperative due to the emergence of large-scale global trading in donkey skins, with estimates of a minimum of 1.8 million donkey skins being traded annually, especially in Africa, and 10 million per annum globally.
“There is therefore urgent need to create awareness on the possible extinction of Donkey in Nigeria without matching production with increasing demands.”
He continued that “A thriving trade in donkey skins for export to China for the production of gelatine used in a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has become a serious threat to the donkey population in Nigeria and Africa which is tending towards extinction.”
Dr Mu’azu assured that the engagement this engagement with the stakeholders will lead to actionable resolutions for increased production, productivity and conservation to avert the extinction of donkey in Nigeria.
Mrs Winnie Tai-Solarin, the Acting Director of the Department of Animal Husbandry Services, thanked the Permanent Secretary for his address and expressed appreciation to the stakeholders for creating time out of their busy schedules to be part of the meeting.
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