(1) Apart from maybe DR Congo, I do not know of any other nation on earth that is sitting on an abundance of natural resources like Nigeria but is failing to tap into this pool of wealth. We are the world’s number one producer of yam, cassava, cashews, kolanuts, shea nuts, melon seeds, bitter leaf, cocoyam and agbalumo already. In an ideal world, these products and their derivatives should be enough to sustain Nigeria without any crude oil
(2) In the 21st century, the way to generate wealth from your natural resources is to add value to them by creating a high tech integrated supply chain offering everything from hybrid seeds, to branded and packaged produce. You also develop other uses for these products and train experts to offer unique services
(3) Do you know that goats account for about 30% of Africa’s ruminant livestock and produce about 17% and 12% of its meat and milk respectively. I ask where is the foreign exchange that these goats are generating for African economies?
(4) Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for over 60% of the total goat population in Africa, with an estimated 147m goats representing about 80 indigenous breeds distributed across all agro-ecological zones and ruminant livestock production systems. Our West African Dwarf goat or the Sokoto Red Goat is the most resilient of all of them
(5) Nigerian West African Dwarf (Wad) goats are endowed with the capacity to resist trypanosome and intestinal nematode infections more effectively than any other known breed of goat. How can we have the sturdiest goats on the planet and not be generating huge sums from them?
(6) Important attributes of the Wad goat include its excellent adaptation to its native habitat, high fertility, and prolificacy. However, their most important feature is their resistance to the important insect-borne disease, trypanosomosis (trypanotolerance), and to GI nematodes
(7) Nigeria hosts the largest Wad goat population in West Africa, with approximately 11m animals in the humid zone of Eastern Nigeria alone. Why is there not a thriving industry built around them offering everything from feed compounds to milk, meat and leather products?
(8) Just to give you an indication of how much we losing out on, do you know that the Australian livestock industry turns over about $65.7bn annually?
(9) In 2017, Australia exported a total of 2,845,802 live cattle, sheep and goats that were valued at $1.4bn. This does not include beef, milk and leather products. Obviously, the big earners are the processed goods. Ask yourselves if Nigeria generates even $1m from the export of her prized goats and their products
(10) My view is that one governor needs to take on the task of making his state the goat capital of the world. Offer farmers interest-free loans, encourage dairy processors, leather tanners and abattoirs to open shop in his state and offer storage, refrigeration and transport facilities. Make it so attractive that there will be a “Goat rush” with everyone dashing to the state to invest in the sector