The Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led Lagos State Government is to establish a 250-hectare feedlots/ranch in Igbodu, Epe, through private sector investment to boost production in the red meat value chain.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Abisola Olusanya, said this on Thursday in Lagos that the project was to mitigate against shortage of supply caused by strikes and other challenges.
Feedlots are agricultural operations where animals are kept and raised in confined situations…that congregate animals, feed, manure and urine, dead animals, and production operations on a small land area.
In the arrangement, feed is brought to the animals rather than the animals grazing or otherwise seeking feed in pastures or fields.
Ms Olusanya said that the project would be in phases as more private feedlots were expected to be set up in the state.
She said that investors were already indicating interest.
According to the commissioner, the state has acquired more land in Epe but would implement the project in phases.
“We have actually called on investors, put out an expression of interest.
“We have investors who actually showed interest, they have applied and done screening.
“We are just trying to clear, put a bit of infrastructure in place and get private investors to invest.
“We are doing 250 hectares in the first instance, that is phase one; we have acquired more land at Igbodu, Epe, and we are hoping to be able to increase it,” she said.
Ms Olusanya said that the project was to demonstrate that cattle could be reared on ranches or in feedlots as against open grazing.
“The idea is to get private investors to come into the value chain so we establish feedlots, individual feedlots.
The official said that the government intended to have a centralised facility maintenance company or a private sector player to help oversee the activities in the feedlot.
“In Nigeria, we eat almost three million or more heads of cattle yearly.
“Lagos alone consumes more than half of or almost half of that, and if we consume that much, it makes sense to bring this product or livestock closer to Lagos.
“We have seen the impact of long-term closure of roads, road blocks, food amalgamation and association issues; when they go on a strike, the impact is mostly felt in Lagos.
“How can we begin to mitigate such things so that in the future, if you are even having a crisis, we are not badly affected.
“It is not that we will not be affected, we will be affected but not badly affected to the extent that it becomes a security issue.
“That is why we are doing some of this things to see that cattle can actually be reared on ranches or can be reared in feedlots,” she said.
The commissioner said that the state government had already begun a pilot feedlot project at Badagry, adding that some of the cattle were sold during the last Eid-El Kabir celebration.
“They were very big cows; those that purchased the cows from us can attest to the fact that those cows were different.
“In fact, some people thought they were international breeds that we brought into the country but they were cows we procured here locally when they were young and groomed them for about 18 months.
“Lagos of the 21st Century should be able to establish ranches and feedlots,” she said.