Agriculture (including livestock, fisheries and agro-forestry) is the main economic sector in the West African region, representing around 40% of its GDP and employing around 80% of its total population. The Livestock industry plays a major role in this sector, as animal food security is considered a major player in the agricultural growth of the sub-region. The vulnerabilities of this industry has been exposed over the years as there has been direct threats, which has affected the industry and its major stakeholders especially in countries like Nigeria where diseases, economic recession, poverty, conflicts, lack of adequate educative information, inappropriate government policies and livestock disasters have caused major setbacks to the animal and their owners. Many farms have gone into extinction due to these factors and the farmers have been reduced to paupers, thereby defeating the initial motive of sustaining food security, reducing unemployment among youths and alleviating poverty in the sub region.
It is on this note that Livestock Industry Foundation for Africa, (LIFA), a livestock agricultural-based, non-profit organization, was founded and legally recognized in June, 2016 by the corporate affairs commission of the federal republic of Nigeria, to bridge the gap by channeling the knowledge and information gained over the years by the founder and other major actors in the industry, as charity for the society at large. This vision, spearheaded by the Founder, Dr Stephen O. Adejoro, an international livestock consultant, is directed towards rural development and transformation due to the fact that a large percentage of rural dwellers are farmers. LIFA is a medium through which rural farmers can get involved in livestock industry development such as livestock social enterprises, while reducing vulnerability to hunger and poverty thereby improving their standard of living.
Work in Progress
Livestock Industry Foundation for Africa is currently working on the challenges of Avian influenza and the ‘No Vaccination Policy’ of most African countries including Nigeria, who have over the years subscribed to compensation of farmers in the case of outbreak of AI on farms but have failed to do so in recent times due to her recent economic recession.
It is evident that the Federal Government of Nigeria can no longer continue its initial program of compensating farmer for the loss of birds in their farms due to AI. Today, over 3 million commercial birds have been lost to AI and farmers haven’t been totally compensated. A recent outbreak in Kano state has led to culling of 9000 birds as confirmed by the Director in the state’s Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr Shehu Bawa on 30th December, 2016. He further encouraged surveillance and disinfection of other farms as the solution to the spread of the disease, consequently urging the federal government to pay outstanding compensations.
LIFA is rather advocating and supporting the initial clamor by the founder, Dr S.O Adejoro since 2006 (published in www.engormix.com), that importation and use of regulated vaccines approved by the directorate of Veterinary Services should be allowed in to control the epidemic. The key to unlocking the potentials of fighting this enemy of the poultry industry in the view of LIFA, is to introduce the use of viral-vectored recombinant vaccine in the control of AI in Nigeria.
Livestock Industry Foundation for Africa, (LIFA), is consolidating the efforts of young farmers and retirees by introducing a program/strategy which would be useful in maximizing profits. This is known as “Cattle fattening for portfolio wealth maximization”. This initiative tends to maximize the efforts of the farmers and reduce their financial vulnerabilities. With high return on investment higher than 35% per cropping and a potential of running two cycles a year, young farmers can take a quantum leap from poverty and joblessness to prosperity and wealth creation.