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About 6% of Nigeria's GDP comes from Livestock production. There were an estimated number of 19.7 million head of cattle in Nigeria in 2001. The Savannah (Praiere) vegetational belt of Nigeria accounted for close to 90% of the herd. The prevalence of the tsetse fly in Nigeria's southern forest zones makes the zone largely inhospitable for cattle raising. The northern Nigerian breed of cattle is the humpless, disease resistant but low yield Zebu (African) breeds. The equally disease resistant, but low yield Shorthorn cow is predominant in Southern Nigeria. There were also an estimated 26.5 million goats, 21.5 million sheep, 5.3 million pigs, one million asses, 205,000 horses, and 135 million chickens in Nigeria in the same period. 

Aside from the predominance of low breed cattle specie in the country, the country's livestock industry is also affected by inadequate abattoir facilities, inadequate storage facilities, outdated and ineffective  market system, bad roads and ineffective rail system, inadequate funds, etc. These structural defects in agriculture production and market system have made parts of Nigeria far from self-sufficient in meat consumption. Many Nigerians  suffer protein deficiency in their diet, largely because of non availability of meat in the market. In 1998, 1.05 million tons of meat and 432,000 tons of cow's milk were produced. The Livestock and Meat Authority controls operations in transport and slaughtering in northern Nigeria. An estimated 20.4 million sheep and goats and 1.8 million head of cattle were slaughtered in 1999. 

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