Selected participants at the N-LMP launch (photo credit: ILRI/Onifade Folusho )

Nigeria officially inaugurates the development of a livestock master plan

The Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Livestock Productivity and Resilience Support project and in collaboration with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), launched activities in Abuja on Monday 24 July 2023 to develop a livestock master plan for Nigeria. 

The Nigeria livestock master plan will help guide the development of the country’s livestock sector which accounts for one-third of the 21% contribution that the agricultural sector makes to the national gross domestic product.

In a collaboration that has received support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, ILRI will work with the Livestock Productivity and Resilience Support project team, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and other relevant ministries to develop the livestock master plan. 

ILRI has over the past decade assisted countries in Africa and Asia to develop sector strategies and investment roadmaps for their livestock sectors, working with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) as technical partners.

Dolapo Enahoro, a senior scientist in ILRI’s Policies, Institutions and Livelihoods program and principal investigator for the Nigeria livestock master plan project, stated that ILRI would work with stakeholders and experts in Nigeria to deliver a livestock sector analysis, a 15-year livestock sector strategy, and a five-year investment plan for the development of priority livestock value chains. 

She further stated that the master plan would build on existing strategies and plans such as the national livestock transformation plan and the more recent Nigeria Livestock Roadmap for Productivity Improvement and Resilience project to provide the well-grounded wheels with which these engines of livestock development can gain traction towards critical changes that are needed in Nigeria’s livestock sector.

The Nigeria Livestock Master Plan development team, with ILRI and FAO represented (photo credit: ILRI/Onifade Folusho).

In his goodwill message, the Emir of Nasarawa, His Royal Highness Alhaji Ibrahim Usman Jibril, emphasized the importance of the livestock sector in Nigeria for food security and national development. 

He mentioned that in 2017, the estimated national herd contained 18.4 million cattle, 43.4 million sheep, 76 million goats and 180 million poultry, which require substantial feed and make considerable contribution to environmental impacts. 

He highlighted the need for climate-smart livestock production in Nigeria and praised the launch of the Nigeria livestock master plan development as a significant milestone for the agricultural sector's development. 

The Emir expressed hope that interventions guided by the master plan would address various livestock challenges in Nigeria, including the lack of pasture and quality feed, water scarcity, land and water rights issues, climate change, livestock breeding and management, marketing and trade, socio-economic constraints and weak research institutions. 

He extended his appreciation to the ILRI team and partners for their funding and expertise in supporting this commendable development.

In his remarks, the executive secretary of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, Garba Sharubutu, noted that the livestock sector has been affected by ethnic, religious and geographical controversies. He highlighted the need for the master plan to be implementable.

Eustace Iyayi, registrar of the Nigerian Institute of Animal Science, mentioned that the launch of the Nigeria livestock master plan is long overdue and stressed the importance of focusing on the livestock sector, which has lagged the crop sector in the area of research institutions. He admonished all stakeholders to do their best to ensure the sustainability of the Nigeria livestock master plan and work together to make it a success.

ILRI’s country representative in Nigeria, Tunde Amole, concluded the launch ceremony with the introduction of the technical committee which will work closely with ILRI and partners in the development of the livestock master plan, and the steering committee which will oversee its development and eventual implementation.

An inaugural steering committee meeting was held after the formal event, during which Sirak Bahta and Dolapo Enahoro, both agricultural economists from ILRI, delivered presentations on the overview, objectives, activities, and timelines of the livestock master plan. 

Bahta shared success stories and lessons from previous livestock master plan development in other countries and addressed questions raised by participants present at the meeting. The committee highlighted the need for reasonable representativeness of all stakeholders and engagement to ensure implementation by each sub-sector.

An information sharing and training workshop involving the Nigeria livestock master plan technical committee was held in the three days following the formal launch event, facilitated by livestock sector experts from the FAO, CIRAD and ILRI. 

In particular, the technical committee was familiarized with the Livestock Sector Investment and Policy Toolkit to understand the method to conduct the assessment of the contribution of the livestock sector to the household economy and the national economy. 

FAO staff led the discussion on the data required to run analysis using the toolkit. FAO is a key partner of ILRI in developing the livestock master plan and will support the socio-economic analysis with use of the toolkit and in the data collection process.

The official start of the Nigeria livestock master plan marks a historic milestone for the country, offering a turning point in Nigeria's livestock sector. With strategic partnerships, targeted investments, and a shared vision, the livestock master plan holds keys to unlocking the livestock sector's full potential and steering it towards a more sustainable and prosperous future.

Other selected quotes

'The Nigeria livestock master plan will provide a baseline resource for other livestock-related projects and intervention in Nigeria … The launch is not just an event; it is the beginning of a new chapter in Nigeria’s livestock transformation.' - Sanusi Abubakar, national project coordinator, Livestock Productivity and Resilience Support

'It pleases my heart to finally see that this project is coming together in Nigeria… I want to thank ILRI for coming and I am sure they can bring in the ideas that would help hasten the process.' - Jerry L Cunningham, chief executive officer, WM Agro International Limited

'Nigeria has had so many plans and a major challenge has been implementation. I however expect that there would be a strong implementation plan for the Nigeria livestock master plan… I have seen some of the master plans of other countries which are excellent and hope that we can produce one that is better than those developed in other countries.' -  B.Y. Abubakar, president, Nigerian Institute of Animal Science

'My expectation from the livestock master plan is that there would be targeted investment in the sector which would improve the economy and contribute positively to the issue around food security; and I am looking forward to the impact in the next few years.' -  Efosa Onyezebe, lead project delivery consultant for Africa, Institute for International Peace Leaders

For more information on livestock master plan activities in Nigeria, contact Dolapo Enahoro (  and Tunde Amole ( of ILRI.

For more information on livestock master plan activities of ILRI globally, visit