The Business of Livestock

Let’s Talk About The Business of Livestock:

Nigeria accounts for over 43% of the livestock population of West Africa according to the UN/FAO survey of 2013.

The 2011 National Agricultural Sample Survey released by the Nigerian FMARD in 2016, also says Nigeria has 19.5m cattle, 41.5m Sheep and 72.5m goats.

95% of the national herd in Nigeria is under pastoralist/smallholder management. Ranches and feedlots account for ONLY 5%. (This justifies the need for mainstreaming livestock production).

According to ILRI (International Livestock Research Institute), demand for beef in developing countries will reach 250m metric tonnes in 2030.

Nigeria is a developing country with a growing population (estimated to be 450m people by 2050) surrounded by other developing countries.

Over 30% of livestock consumed locally are imports from surrounding countries like Chad, Cameroun, Central Africa, Niger, B/Faso etc.

In Lagos, Nigeria has the largest livestock market, in terms of consumption, in Sub Saharan Africa.

Lagos slaughters an estimated 6000 cows a day (Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture 2017).

The above slaughter figure of Lagos (assumed to be conservative by most experts) equals to 180,000 cows a month with a value of over N27billion.

It also translates to about 54 Million KG of beef consumed in a month. In a city with an estimated population of 20m people, that is 2.7 KG per person per month. (This by the way is, 0.09 KG of beef per person per day).

The point I am trying to make is, as our population increases, as global beef consumption increases; our local production decreases.

Livestock production is declining in the country due to a number of reasons, chiefly among are; a) Environmental issues in most of the north of Nigeria,
b) Insurgency in the northeast,
c) Rural banditry in the northwest,
d) The incessant farmer/herder conflicts in the north central
e) The unfortunate ‘ethnicisation’ of livestock production and ownership in the country

What needs to be understood by all is that THIS IS A BIG BUSINESS.

The livestock sector is a multi-billion naira business with the capacity to create employment, diversify our economy, and attract inflow of foreign investments.

The cow, goat or ram does not understand Hausa, Ibo, Yoruba, Ibibio, Efik, Tiv, English or Fulfulde. All they need is TENDER, LOVE AND CARE.

Whoever gives them proper pasture, water and veterinary care unlocks a massive business opportunity.

And that is why is investing a lot of its resources and energy in mainstreaming (‘De-ethnicising’) livestock production in Nigeria, in the same manner that poultry has been mainstreamed.

Rise above the hate and look at the numbers above. As they say, Numbers Don’t Lie. (This is not even adding the numbers from dairy, leather and other related derivatives) It’s time we talk about the Business of Livestock. Not the Politics of Livestock.

In case you are the type that gets inspired by irritation, follow us on all social media handles @livestock247ng or check us out at to know more about what we are doing in this regard.

Written by:
Ibrahim Maigari Ahmadu, is cofounder/ceo at (Nigeria’s 1st Online Livestock Market and Listing Platform)