By Olayinka Olawale
Prof. Olajide Babayemi of Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ibadan has urged the Federal Government to conduct census to ascertain the total number of animals in the country.
Babayemi, who made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Wednesday, said that the census would help in policy formation on animals.
According to him, there is no record on total number of animals living in the country.
He said that President Bola Tinubu should concentrate on agriculture to improve food production, saying there are crops, animals and other components that help agriculture.
“When we talk about food security, we are talking of agriculture; our new president should face agriculture squarely to enhance production in the sector
“The president should focus on carrying out survey to know the number of animals that we have in Nigeria. Animal census is as good as human census too. We don’t have the data, what we have is an assumption,’’ he said.
The don queried the 12 million cattle figure and 40 million goats quoted in Nigeria, saying, who told you that?.
“For example, if you have 24 million cattle in Nigeria, divide it by number of people that you have, that will give you an idea of what is on the table or on ground.
“When last did we do animal census? No one can say. I have never seen where it is done. Since I have been born, it has never been done,” he said.
Babayemi said that the Federal Government should conduct the census as done in other countries where record keeping plays a major role in planning.
He said that nobody could answer the question on the total number of animals in the country as well as whether enough are being produced due to lack of data.
He said, “In other places they know the number of animals they have in their country at any point in time. If an animal has delivered today, there is a record that a new baby in the animal kingdom has been born.
“But in Nigeria, we don’t have any record, adding that government should discourage the dependence on foreign supply of animals from neighbouring countries.”
According to him, some of the animals consumed in Nigeria come from Niger, Mali, Cameroon and other neighbouring countries.
He said that though there are other sources of protein like fish, chicken and others, but all over the world, people depend on cattle because it could serve the population as much as possible.
He added that Nigeria should not continue to depend on the neighbouring countries for cattle and urged the president to focus mainly on agriculture.(NAN) www.nannews.ng