Impact of microfinance banks on sheep and goat farming
The great economic future of Nigeria has to begin with its development of today and this depends largely on its agriculture. Agriculture simply means the cultivation of crops, rearing of livestock for human consumption and production of raw materials for agro-allied industries. Agricultural production in Nigeria is progressively on the decline in terms of its contribution to the gross domestic products (GDP) as well as satisfying the country’s food requirement despite the fact that about 70% of the population engage in agriculture.
Consequently, for improvement and increase in food security there is need for agricultural financing which has been a major constraint to small-scale and large-scale agricultural development(Agu,1998).As a result of credit needs of the less-privileged entrepreneurs who are often faced with limited capital base(as obtained worldwide) the microfinance business is assuming an increasing importance. This microfinance enables the establishment and expansion of agricultural farms, provision of loans to assist the farmer in acquiring required resources which their level of income cannot possibly support.
Statistics put Nigeria’s small ruminant figure as 34.5million goats and 22.1million sheep and their value is estimated at 40billion naira or 20% of the agricultural GDP(Adeosun,1992).These animals have been found to be widely distributed in Nigeria and are quite important to the economy for their employment and foreign exchange generation, contribution to the GDP,supply of raw material to local industries and food production(Ogunsusi,1998).The meat and milk from these small ruminants are good sources of animal protein which is the best source of essential amino-acids required by man.
Small ruminants are raised by traditional and modern system of husbandry with the bulk of the animals being traditionally managed. This system is characterized by keeping the animals on...