Governor of Niger State Dr Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu has advocated an action plan towards the exportation of cattle and beef to generate more income for the country.
The governor made this known yesterday at the flag-off of this year's state-wide animal and pest vaccination campaign at the Trade Fair Complex in Minna.
Aliyu said that if the action plan was well articulated, it would not only boost the nation's economy but widen the economic base of cattle farmers to encourage more productivity.
He however advised that, for the nation's beef and animal products to be acceptable in the international market, government must ensure that animals are raised in accordance with basic international standard and slaughtered with utmost application of hygienic standards.
The governor said Fulani cattle herdsmen's method of rearing animals in the country, which entails the age-long tradition of travelling long distances for arable land, had become out of fashion.
He said that grazing reserves set out by government should be enough for cattle to be fed, adding that carrying cattle along the length and breadth of the country in search of green vegetation could make the animals lose weight and finally drop in their market value.
He said that the state has 1,268 kilometres of livestock routes which have been properly gazetted, arguing that if the routes were properly used by cattle herdsmen it would reduce to the barest minimum incidents of friction between the Fulani and other farmers.
Aliyu stated that the state had about two million heads of cattle in 2007 but said that, going by the steps taken by the government, the figure could increase to seven million by the year 2015.
He added that the vision was that, in the next 20 years, the breed of cattle being reared at present in the state would have been phased out for better breeds to meet up with international standard.
Governor Aliyu announced that government would give automatic employment to children of the Fulani who acquire at least a diploma to serve as extension workers for the government's cattle vaccination programme.
The minister of agriculture, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, represented by the director and chief veterinary officer in the ministry, Mr Joseph Nyanga, stated that out of all the diseases suffered by human beings 60 per cent are from animals.
He emphasised the need for proper and regular vaccination of animals.