INTRODUCTION TO LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION
Livestock are domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce commodities such as food, fiber and labour. Livestock are generally raised for profit. Raising animals (animal husbandry) is a component of modern agriculture. It has been practiced in many cultures since the transition to farming from hunter-gather lifestyles.
Livestock production in Nigeria was dominated by nomadic pastoralism long before the advent of the British Colonial Administration. It accounts for one third of Nigeria's agricultural GDP, providing income, employment, food, farm energy, manure, fuel and transport.[i] They are also a major source of government revenue. It has been argued that, livestock, especially ruminants, are the most efficient user of uncultivated land and contribute evidently to crop production. Efficient crop-livestock integration systems have the tendency of allowing nutrients to be recycled more effectively on the farm thereby enhancing crops’ yield.In such a system livestock can be fed on crop residues, like straw, fruits and grains, as well as other products that would have otherwise been disposed of.[ii]
Traditional livestock production is varied and complex in nature. It has evolved over centuries of adaptation under prevailing conditions of harsh climate and severe disease challenge.
The economic importance of livestock includes, but is not limited to;
Various animals that fall under the category of livestock include;
[ii] Culled from; http://www.ajol.info/ , Fakoya E.O. (2007). Utilization of Crop – Livestock Production Systems for Sustainable Agriculture in Oyo State, Nigeria. Journal of Social Sciences, 15(1): 31-33.
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