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Feed is the most essential input in all livestock production systems. Therefore, it deserves greater attention by any nation seeking to assure the food and nutritional security of its citizens. This study provides an assessment of livestock feed development pathways in Nigeria by examining the drivers of that development and the challenges and opportunities confronting Nigeria’s livestock feed subsector. Data on livestock-raising households were obtained from the 2018/19 wave of the Living Standards Measurement Study – Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA) panel survey for Nigeria. These data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Ordinary Least Square regression, multinomial and ordered logit models, and gross margins analysis. The major findings are:

  • The main sources of livestock feed for cattle, sheep, and goats—are crop residues, forages, and fodder shrubs. Only a few households feed their livestock using zero-grazing. The main feeding regime of cattle is only grazing. Cattle production systems are largely pastoral and most of them are maintained in transhumance and agropastoral systems.
  • Farmer practices are consistent with the gross margins of the feeding regimes examined. Grazing with some feeding was the feeding regime with the highest gross margin (GM) per head, followed by only grazing. The worst feeding regime financially was zero-grazing which was estimated to provide a loss.
  • The average milk productivity for farmers who only graze their dairy animals is higher than the productivity realized under other feeding regimes. Egg productivity was highest for layer poultry farmers operating under the feeding regimes that mainly use grazing with some feeding.

Nigeria does not have an effective livestock feeding policy to encourage private investment in the sub-sector. Transformation of the livestock sector in Nigeria supported by an effective livestock feed sub-sector will require the promotion of efficient crop-livestock systems that are integrated with large-scale modern feed mills to reduce feed production costs, livestock feed value chain development, and the institution of feed safety standards, among others. Policies that reduce the cost of feeding will increase gross margins for livestock-raising households. Lower feed costs likely will enable greater adoption of zero-grazing, which will enhance milk productivity. These policies will require an expansion of fodder production in Nigeria and the facilitation of trade in feed concentrates. The results from this study can be used by decision-makers both in Nigeria and elsewhere to focus greater investment in the livestock sector to improve feed systems for greater production and profitability.

Published as AKADEMIYA2063 Working Papers Series, No. 008.