The Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association (NVMA) has called on government to allow poultry and livestock feed millers to have access to the National Strategic Grains Reserve as part of palliatives to support the industry.

The NVMA also asked the government to consider providing stimulus packages and social safety net for animal sector value chain actors to cushion them against the impact of COVID-19 lockdown during this period.

In a statement signed by the National President of NVMA, Professor Bello Agaie, the association commended the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for bringing on board the BSL-3 Laboratory of the National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI), Vom, and Plateau State.

NVMA said with the quality and quantity of manpower and state-of-the-art facilities at the NVRI, this engagement, is worthwhile and will save the nation scarce resources that are required at this critical moment for many other activities in support of curtailing this infection

“Livestock must be fed 24/7, therefore special palliatives should also be extended to poultry and livestock feed millers by giving them access to grains in the National Strategic Grains Reserve to preserve our poultry and livestock resources at this difficult time.

“In addition, Government should consider providing stimulus packages and social safety net for animal sector value chain actors to cushion them against the impact of COVID-19 lockdown during this period.

“We commend the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the NCDC for bringing on board the BSL-3 Laboratory of the National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI), Vom, Plateau State as one of the network of laboratories to handle laboratory confirmation of suspected cases of this infection.

“This indeed, is in line with Global best practices and spirit of “One Health” that have brought together health professionals and Veterinarians across the world to combat this Pandemic”, the statement said.

As part of their recommendations, the NVMA urged “the Government to speed up the process of procuring adequate and sufficient WHO approved COVID- 19 test kits and reagents to enhance the work of the accredited laboratories across the country and bring on board if need be quickly additional Laboratories for testing. As these laboratories could serve as the foundation for laboratory diagnosis of other viral haemorrhagic fevers that have become intractable in the country for decades post COVID-19.

“Government at all levels should continue to roll out palliatives efficiently and transparently to support citizens to stay at home as long as the lock-down last and work out modalities to get businesses back to work as soon as possible without much financial shock”.

NVMA assured Government and Nigerians that Veterinarians in Nigeria remains committed to playing their roles in this circumstance and would continue to engage and support all stakeholders where their expertise is required.

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