In order to check herdsmen farmers persistent clashes, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, has said the Federal Government is ready to establish cattle colonies.
The initiative is expected to provide sustainable solution to the herdsmen/farmers killings across the country.
Ogbeh disclosed this yesterday during a 2-day retreat organised by Synergos for special advisers and directors in the ministry in Abuja.
He assured that needed facilities and supports such as water and grasses would be provided for the herdsmen and their cattle.
The Minister explained that the cattle colony project would commence immediately following the offer of five hectares of land from 16 state Governors in the country.
He added that President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to help the ministry with needed fund for the project, adding that no other sector is capable of creating jobs for the unemployed.
While he debunked claims that 4 million jobs were lost last one year, Ogbeh argued that over 6 million jobs were created in the agric sector only, adding that Hibiscus also known as Zobo earned the nation’s farmers about $35 million last year as demand continues to increase.
“On the issue of cattle we have to start immediately, 16 states have given us land to work on. The programme is not going to be cheap. Mr President has personally informed me that if we seek help from him he will give it to us over and above the budget we have, and when that budget is released I plead with all of you to come on board to work hard to achieve results.
“We are talking of cattle colonies not ranches so to speak, where we will provide water, grass, training for herdsmen, cattle breeding and insemination.
“We have to deal with an urgent problem, cattle rearing and the conflicts between farmers and herdsmen, and actually bring it to a halt. I know that some people argue that the culture of open grazing is our culture, but when a culture begins to develop dangerous trends leading to warfare between people and bloody clashes and death that culture is due for re-examination; if it is harmful we reform it.
“Nigerians are getting extremely uncomfortable with these killings and we may make political statements and issue palliatives and ask the police and army to go after killers. Let us do our own duty by eliminating the conflict by creating cattle colonies.”
According to the Minister 2018 Frontiers for the sector will focus on new plantations for cashew nuts, also relaunch of cocoa that will move the country up from number seven to number one in the next five years, improve fertilizer blending, which micro nutrients will be included.
The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr. Bukar Hassan, in his remarks revealed that Nigeria will soon export organic fertilizer to Europe in February 2018, Hassan made this known while he called on ministers’ aide and civil servants to work together, because the ministry has enormous work to deliver Buhari’s change agenda before 2019 elections.
In his remarks, the Synergos Country Representative, Adewale Ajadi, called on directors and political advisers in the ministry to synergise and work assiduously and not to allow politics distract what has commenced.
Ajadi urged the federal, state and local governments to work together and have proper coordination of activities and policies in the sector.
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