IN Nigeria, families who depend on livestock rearing as a mainstay of their livelihoods are subject to an unprecedented range of challenges.
Climate-related occurrences such as drought, erratic rainfall and floods, the volatility of local and global markets and armed conflict in areas like the northeast are just a few of the phenomena facing the country’s livestock owners.
To save livelihoods and ultimately lives, at-risk households must be stronger in the face of man-made and natural socio-economic crises.
To enhance the capacity of livestock sector actors to design, implement and assess interventions for at-risk livestock-owners, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) launched Nigeria’s first-ever Training of Trainers workshop on the Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards (LEGS).
The 5-day intensive workshop ending on 31 August includes 25 key livestock experts from 11 states in Nigeria. Participants come from a range of government and private institutions, including federal and state ministries and bureaus tasked with livestock management, livestock owners associations, professional bodies and universities.
LEGS, which is underpinned by the sustainable livelihoods approach, has three main learning outcomes, namely: how to provide immediate benefits to crisis-affected livestock-owning communities, protect the livestock-related assets of these communities and lastly, how to re-build their key assets.
Upon completion of the course, participants will be able to undertake training of their own and mainstream livestock emergency interventions in their institutions.
“Across the Sahel and in parts of Nigeria, conflict and desertification are turning fertile lands into deserts, ravaging what used to be rangelands for animals.
Partners working in the sector should have a sound understanding of how to develop appropriate interventions,” said Suffyan Koroma, FAO Representative in Nigeria. ‘’Saving livestock-based livelihoods is the key to saving lives in Nigeria,” Koroma stated.
LEGS is an independent joint initiative of a core group of regional and international development actors including the African Union and FAO and will help to bring livestock sector practitioners up to speed with globally accepted best practices during humanitarian crises.
The training is the first ever to take place in Nigeria, though Nigerian experts have participated in regional LEGS certification workshops.
In total, LEGS training has taken place in 54 countries across the world, with an estimated 530 trainers reaching about 6,500 people.
As part of its livestock recovery programme in northeast Nigeria, FAO has, since the start of the year, distributed about 40 400 goats to 10 100 households across the IDP camps and host communities in Adamawa, Borno and the Yobe States.
FAO also vaccinated 300 000 animals benefitting about 80 000 people and provided 570 tonnes of animal feed to over 4 600 households to cover the lean season. About 7 200 households in northeast Nigeria will receive poultry kits in 2018.
In addition to being a source of meat and milk, livestock like oxen, provide essential services during land preparation for farming and are a major source of transport for rural households in Nigeria.
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