Livestock play a significant role in Nigeria agriculture, contributing about 12.7% of
the total agriculture Gross Domestic Products (GDP). According to Central Bank of
Nigeria (1999), cattle are found throughout Nigeria, but are most common in the
northern two thirds of the country, with almost half of the total cattle population
permanently resident in the sub humid zone. Cattle in Nigeria are numerous and
provide substantial quantities of animal protein in the form of meat and milk, in
addition to role they play in influencing the ecosystem. Their production is based on
an age-old husbandry system which needs to be gradually upgraded in order to meet
the needs of ever increasing human populace.
Animal products are responsible for one-sixth of the human food energy and also
more than one-third of the protein requirement on a global basis (Bradford, 1999).
Protein from livestock is needed for physiological and intellectual as well as for
developing immunity against disease (Akinmo and Akinyele, 1983). But
unfortunately most Nigerians suffer from kwashiorkor, retarded growth, and obesity
as a result of lack of animal protein being supplied by the body. The protein intake of
an average Nigeria is about 53.8g with only 6.08.4g/head/day of animal origin
(Egbunike, 1997). Making us the least consumers of animal protein in Africa.