Animal genetic resources are the primary biological capital for livestock development, and are vital to food security and sustainable rural development. Yet, the values of these resources are poorly understood and their management has been neglected. This has resulted in substantial erosion of genetic diversity – a trend that is likely to accelerate with the rapid changes affecting the livestock sector in response to massive increases in demand for livestock products.
Livestock development in the twentieth century concentrated on a very small number of breeds worldwide, frequently without due consideration to the way in which local production environments affect animals’ ability to survive, produce and reproduce.
The use and development of livestock breeds and the conservation of valuable breeds that are of little current interest to livestock producers need to be upgraded. A range of rapidly developing molecular and reproductive biotechnologies has important implications for AnGR management, as has a range of policy, legal and institutional issues.
Nigeria is a signatory to Global Plan of Actions (GPAs) on Animal Genetic resources (AnGR) since 2007 with a call by FAO on countries to domesticate the GPAs and come up with national plan of Actions for the sustainable use, management and conservation of their domesticated animal genetic resources.
The term animal genetic resources (AnGR) is used to include all animal species, breeds and strains that are of economic, scientific and cultural interest to man in terms of food and agricultural production for the present or the future.
The Animal Genetic Resources (AnGR) Project in Nigeria is aimed at preserving indigenous livestock resources in this country in order to enhance food security and economic sustenance. Nigeria’s indigenous livestock biodiversity, mainly in the custody of the traditional producers, are utilized for farm work, transportation and food, all in conformity with the Global Plan of Action of Animal Genetic Resources. They also serve as source of generic material for breeding.