Cattle Ranch Photo: FT

Food Security: Lagos butchers seek 50,000 hectares of land for ranching, set to meet consumers’ needs

*The Lagos State Government urges the private sector to partner with it to establish feedlots for cattle rearing and fattening in furtherance of reforms and sanitisation of the red meat value chain, besides supporting fishing operations in the state

*The Lagos State Butchers’ Association says it is ready to rear and scale-up meat requirement of consumers in Lagos on the provision of 50, 000 hectares of land for ranching

Emmanuel Akosile | ConsumerConnect

In an attempt to promote food and nutrition security in the ‘Centre of Excellence’, the Lagos State Butchers’ Association has requested the provision of about 50, hectares of land from the Lagos State Government (LASG) for ranching and rearing herds of cattle in the state.

Mr. Bamidele Kareem, Chairman of the Association, stated this while speaking on the plan to set up feedlots, against the backdrop of the recent suspension of movement of foodstuff supplies from the Northern part of the country to the Southern region.

Kareem said the said the association was ready to rear and scale-up meat requirement of consumers in Lagos, if the state government would approve their request on the provision of 50, 000 hectares of land for ranching.

“Since we are the highest consumers of red meat in Nigeria, but we butchers don’t breed cattle, that’s why we encouraging government for feedlots for breeding.

“We are proposing a land at Imota area of the state to the state government, but we understood the government is looking at another land in Epe. We pray it happens soon,” he stated.

ConsumerConnect reports Ms. Absiola Olusanya, Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture, in her remarks at a Stakeholders’ Engagement on the Red Meat Value Chain at Alausa, in Ikeja, the state capital at the weekend, also disclosed that well over 1.8 million herds of cattle and over 1.4 million herds of sheep and goats are consumed in Lagos annually.

The Commissioner urged the private sector of the economy to partner with the state government to establish feedlots in the state for cattle rearing and fattening in furtherance of its reforms and sanitisation of the red meat value chain.

Ms. Olusanya stated that partnership becomes necessary as it would ensure better production and supply of cattle for consumption in Lagos State.

She noted when operational, the feedlots would help to revive and resuscitate cows that might have travelled from far cities, such as Sokoto, Jalingo, Bauchi and Jigawa among others where they may have come to Lagos before slaughtering them.

Olusanya further said the feedlot system would help in fattening the cows before taking them to the slaughter slabs which would improve the quality of beef as well as help butchers and meat sellers to make more profit.

“We have been having discussions around the transformation agenda centred on abattoirs, transportation and markets but there is a revised plan to have a more holistic approach to the red meat value chain.

“We are not just focusing on abattoirs alone which are a processing angle, we are starting right from the animal identification and traceability systems, meaning right from the source or point of origination of the cattle.

“That is why we want to establish feedlots in the state so that we can have cattle fattening centres,” Olusanya stated.

The Commissioner stressed the need for more abattoirs in the state so as to cater to the needs of the over 22 million people in the state thus the need for public-private partnership investments in the sector.

The Commissioner for Agriculture added; “The idea around the red meat value chain stakeholders’ engagement is to have a sort of conclusion around how the sector should move forward, and we will be working with the Butchers’ Association Lagos State Chapter, which has a membership of over 30,000 butchers.

“Lagos consumes well over 1.8 million herds of cattle and over 1.4 million herds of sheep and goats respectively on an annual basis.

“Lagos is consuming well over 50 percent of what Nigeria produces in terms of red meat.”

LASG’s intervention for artisanal fishing communities

In a related development, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, Lagos State Commissioner for Agriculture Sunday, March 7 said the government had begun empowerment and capacity building of artisanal fisheries value intervention for fishing communities in the state.

She made the disclosure during an artisanal fisheries value intervention programme in Lagos, according to agency report.

The intervention arises from the concern that fish landings by fishermen have not been maximised due to the high cost of fishing inputs and undesirable fishing practices.

According to her, the undesirable practices had resulted in low catches for the fishermen’s efforts.

It translates into reduced income and a rural-urban drift by younger fishermen seeking greener pastures, Olusanya said.

“Government is supporting their fishing operations in order to reverse this trend.

“The artisanal fisheries sub-sector of the state’s fish supply chain presently contributes 80 per cent of local fish production which accounts for 40 percent of state’s total fish demand.

“It also provides a major source of livelihood for fishermen in the state.”

The Commissioner noted: “In order to reverse this trend, the ministry is implementing activities such as empowerment of artisanal fishermen with outboard engines to reduce the shuttle time to and fro fishing grounds.

“This is in addition to the provision of boats and nets to support their fishing operations.

“We are also sensitising and building their capacity on obnoxious fishing practices, utilisation and maintenance of the newly introduced 4-stroke outboard engines.

“We are collaborating with financial institutions for alternative sources of finance,” she added.

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