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Animal Agriculture as Panacea for Increased Protein Intake in Nigeria
The world’s population is expected to increase from 6 billion to more than 7.5 billion by 2020. This burgeoning population may require a doubling of animal protein and a corresponding doubling of feed grains demand. Nigeria is currently the most populous black nation in the world with the threat of nutritional deficiency facing its citizens as a result of high cost and inadequate supply of animal protein. Malnutrition has been blamed for the physical handicap and low performance of Nigerian workers, lack of initiative and drive, susceptibility to endemic and infectious diseases and of course poverty. Supply of meat and milk in Nigeria must be increased considerably through animal agriculture in the next 20 to 50 years so as to fast-track nutritional well-being and economic development. The prospects of achieving food security in a rapidly growing population and relative self-sufficiency in animal protein supply calls for the production of all classes of meat animals, notably poultry, swine, sheep goat, cattle, rabbit etc, which are currently produced at subsistence level. The future of animal agriculture as a panacea to increased protein intake is brighter if federal and state governments and those involved in policy formulation should realize that livestock is a security factor and tackle the problems head-on. This will usher in an era of nutritionally stable Nigerian population indicated by improved standard of living and other economic indices.