The Edo government says it is collaborating with ECOWAS to train farmers in the state on the importance of livestock and meat value chain.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Mr Stephen Idehenre, inaugurated the training on Tuesday in Benin.
The government said that the training would come on the platform of ECOWAS Support Programme for Livestock Marketing in West Africa.
The four-day capacity building workshop was aimed at upgrading the feedlot, crossbreeding and meat value chains in Edo.
Idehenre said that the training was aimed at building the capacity of livestock farmers on modern ways of production to meet the demand for protein in Edo.
He noted that the focus of the training would be on feedlot development, meat handling, processing, marketing and transportation.
“The economic growth and sustainability of Edo and indeed Nigeria can only be enhanced by a robust agricultural revolution framework as well as capacity building for livestock actors,” he said.
He urged the farmers to cooperate with the resource persons and learn modern ways of producing feedlot, meat processing as well as creation of wealth from animal by-products.
Dr Adetunji Jolaosho, the team leader from ECOWAS, said that the project was being funded by the Swiss development cooperation through ECOWAS and the Edo government.
He said that the training became necessary because there were concerns in Edo to modernise production of livestock.
“Meat consumption in Edo is mostly ruminants which are sheep and goats.
“We have estimated that about 2,000 sheep and goats are consumed daily in Benin alone, which brings the total per annum to 800,000.
“Unfortunately, less than 30 per cent of this number is produced in the state.
“Which means the people who sell these sheep and goats go to neighbouring states to source for the animals”, he observed.
So, basically, the low production is characterised by old way of production and lack of modern procedures to add value,” he said.
The resource person, Mr Kola Kuku, said that there was a growing demand for sheep and goats in Benin.
In his paper presentation entitled the “Economic value of ruminants feedlot for small and medium scale livestock farmers”, Kuku said that cows could be raised within a space of 100 by 100 square metres of land.
According to him, there is enough cassava peels, groundnut leaves and corn stock all over the place that could be used to feed the animals.
Also speaking, Mr Christopher Omondiagbe, a representative of the Bank of Industry, took the participants through the essential factors attached to obtaining investment loans for livestock and meat value chain project.