FCT set to establish livestock industrial processing zone
inaugurates vet diagnostic lab
By Ben Adoga
The FCT Administration is set to establish a special Livestock Industrial Processing Zone to boost livestock production and processing for the FCT and its contiguous areas.
This hint was given Tuesday in Nyanya area of Abuja by the FCT minister of state, Dr Ramatu Tijani Aliyu while flagging off a free livestock vaccination programme as well as the inauguration of an ultra-modern veterinary diagnostic laboratory for the FCT.
According to Aliyu, “the FCT Administration has concluded plans to establish a Special Livestock Industrial Processing Zone in the Paikon-Kore Grazing Reserve in the FCT. This is aimed at boosting livestock production and processing, while promoting peaceful, mutually-beneficial economic partnerships between herders, pastoralists and other farmers and residents, creating jobs, and enhancing food security.”
She also noted that the inauguration of the diagnostic lab was part of efforts geared towards delivering quality animal health care services and strengthening the capacity of the Administration to respond swiftly to the prevention of emerging infectious diseases.
During the inaugural ceremony held in the premises of the FCT Veterinary Clinic, Nyanya, Aliyu noted that the livestock sub-sector provided enormous business and commercial opportunities that could help facilitate job creation and poverty reduction as well as the attainment of food security and improved livelihood for the citizenry.
The minister who used the occasion to flag off the free anti-rabies vaccination campaign and distribution of inputs to livestock farmers in the Federal Capital Territory, also lamented that the economic and social viability of the livestock sector was threatened by the increasing outbreak of animal diseases particularly those that are highly communicable and zoonotic by nature.
According to her; “studies have shown that the majority of diseases that afflict animals are zoonotic, capable of causing not only huge fatalities in both animals and humans but economic losses as well.
“In Nigeria, we have witnessed notable zoonosis such as Anthrax, Monkey pox and Ebola. Other contagious diseases such as Rabies and Lassa fever, Avian Influenza, Rinderpest among others.”
Aliyu, however, pledged that the FCT Administration was leaving no stone unturned to ensure the sustenance of the sector through the implementation of innovative strategies to boost productivity and help enhance systemic capacity and preparedness to combat emerging and infectious animal diseases even before they occur.
The minister commended all those that have contributed to the success of the veterinary diagnostic laboratory, particularly the Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, on the milestone achievement of creating a vehicle for facilitating quick animal health care service delivery to the residents of the FCT, in line with the food security enhancement policy of the current administration.
On his part, the Ag. Secretary FCT Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Mr. Prospect Ibe Chukwuemeka also emphasized the importance of the project, stressing that the implementation of innovative programmes would help to reposition the agricultural sector towards increasing food production and improving the livelihood of FCT residents.
Chukwuemeka further noted that prior to the establishment of this laboratory, the secretariat had relied on other institutions for test analysis and diagnosis, adding that with this development residents have the opportunity to access reliable laboratory services and getting test results in quicker time.
He, however, assured that in order to ensure the sustenance of this project, the secretariat, with the support of partners, exposed the Veterinary Doctors and Laboratory Scientists to the effective use of the equipment, while appealing to farmers and owners of animals to maintain hygiene where their animals are kept.
The highpoint of the event was the free vaccination of about 20 dogs, five cows and the distribution of other inputs to livestock farmers in the FCT.
The free vaccination would last for one month, after that owners of pets and other animal will have to pay a subsidized amount to vaccinate their animals.