The Sheep and Goats Farmers Association of Nigeria (SHEGOFAN) has appealed to the Federal Government to create ranches for the rearing of small ruminants like sheep and goats.
Wahab Salami, the association’s national president, made the call on Monday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Ibadan.
Salami said since government was working on plans to create cattle ranches in some states, it should also consider creating ranches for ruminants and other livestock.
“The definition of livestock is not limited to cattle alone. It also includes sheep, goats, pigs and other animals.
“Government’s attention must not be limited to cattle farmers alone. It should be extended to farmers who rear other forms of animals,” he said.
Salami also appealed to the Oyo State government to help develop the farm settlement allocated to members of the association by providing necessary facilities.
“The state government gave us a farm settlement. But, we need amenities like water, security, good roads, fencing and electricity supply among others to make the place functional.
“We also need loan facilities to invest in our business so we can produce more,” he said.
Salami remarked that situations where animals were confined in one place help create more income for farmers.
“It will create more income, job opportunities, attract youths into the business as well as foreign exchange for the country,” he said.
Salami said sheep and goats farming had a lot of benefits in the society, saying that richer milk would be extracted from goats and sheep than the cattle.
“Reproduction is faster in goats than cattle, goats’ milk can also be use to feed infants who lost their mothers during delivering,” he said.
He emphasised the need for Nigeria to invest more in small ruminants’ production to enjoy the benefits associated with the production.
“Animal skin is a raw material for other business such as shoes and belt factories, the export of the skin will give us more foreign exchange.
“Animal horns are used for production of buttons and hand bangles, the intestine is a material used for stitches in hospitals during medical operations.
“Also, sheep and goats business help in the provision of meat in the country, the benefits are so numerous that we cannot afford to miss,” Salami said.