By Leonard Okachie
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has trained and empowered 40 small-holder rural households on best practices for backyard goat production in Abia.
The programme held at the Abia State Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) in Umuahia on Friday.
Each of the farmers was empowered with two goats, buck and doe (male and female), some feeds and medicinal, as starter packs, at the end of the training.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the programme is the proposal of the State and Federal Government to encourage the production of more ruminants.
In his remarks, Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu expressed gratitude to the Federal Government for giving the opportunity to the farmers in the state.
Ikpeazu, who was represented by Mr Effort Nwankwo, Permanent Secretary in the state’s Ministry of Agriculture, said that Abia was the only state in the South East selected for the programme.
Mr Frank Kudla, Director, Federal Department of Agricultural Extension Services, said that the programme was designed to address the shortage of livestock production in the country.
Kudla, who was represented by his assistant, Mr Godwin Oyigoga, urged the beneficiaries to take advantage of the programme in order to help the government solve some of the crises in the country.
In his Goodwill message, Mr Victor Ihediwa, State Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, described the programme as a unique one that would do a lot of good in the state.
“By this progamme we are starting off a new line of livestock farming and farming in general.
“It will increase our meat production as well as help us to resolve herders/farmers clash,” he said.
Earlier in his address, the Programme Manager, Abia ADP, Chief Israel Amanze, thanked the federal and state governments for providing the opportunity to farmers in the state.
He assured of the success of the programme saying, “as ADP, we have no other jobs than to promote agriculture in Abia.”
Amanze explained that the breeds are West African dwarfs, which are very highly cherished meat but not always available.
According to him, they are not for consumption, but grower goats which will in turn become ‘mothers’ and ‘fathers’ of other goats.
A beneficiary, Miss Oluchi Nwankwo, thanked the federal government for the opportunity, saying that she would utlise it to gain the maximum benefits. (NAN)