Can someone please explain to me why Nigeria does not have an aggressive horse production programme?

By Ayo Akinfe

(1) As Nigeria desperately searches around for potential sources of revenue, can someone please tell me why we have not thought about horses? A horse costs about $2,000 on the open market, so just imagine the revenue we would generate if we exported say 3m of them

(2) Apparently there are 240,000 horses in Nigeria with the bulk of them used by the police and the polo industry. Kaduna in particular has a vibrant horse-owning population but alas, I doubt if we export one horse

(3) With the move away from fossil fuels as we seek to reduce our carbon footprint, why are horses not considered a better mode of transport than the motorcycle across northern Nigeria in particular? Borno, Yobe, Jigawa, Katsina, Kano, Zamfara, Kebbi and Sokoto states would be ideal breeding grounds for the rare Namib horse that is a natural asset in Namibia

(4)Worldwide, horses play a role within human cultures and have done so for millennia. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that in 2008, there were almost 59m horses in the world, with around 33.5m in the Americas, 13.8m in Asia and 6.3m in Europe

(5)There are estimated to be 9.5m horses in the US alone. The American Horse Council (AHC)estimates that horse-related activities have a direct impact on the economy of the US of over $39bn and when indirect spending is considered, the impact is over $102bn

(6) Nine other countries have horse populations of more than a million. They are China 7.4m, Mexico 6.2m, Brazil 5.7m, Argentina 3.6m, Colombia 2.5m, Mongolia 2m, Ethiopia 1.6m, Russia 1.3m and Kazakhstsan 1.1m.

(7)Two countries in Rwanda and St. Helena, reported no horses. Maybe this is where Nigeria can come in. Africa’s horse population is very low, so why should we not be the continent’s breeding ground?

(8)Given the Sahelian conditions in the northern border regions, I think we should try breeding the Namib Desert Horse that is very healthy and survives well in Namibia. This Namib horse is a rare feral horse and is probably the only feral herd of horses residing in Africa, with a population ranging between 90 and 150

(9) Can you imagine how we would dramatically increase Nigeria’s farm output if every farmer had a horse? Think about him attaching a plough to his horse and that increased acreage he would be able to cultivate

(10) Is there anything stopping our agriculture minister from setting a horse production target of 5m by 2030? Our intellectual laziness is by far our biggest problem as a people. In somewhere like Katsina State you can convert a whole local government area into a horse reserve and make it an unbelievable money spinner