Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Audu Ogbeh, has disclosed that 12 out of the 36 states, have expressed support for the grazing and irrigation initiatives of the federal government.
He added that nine states had already agreed to provide 5,000 hectares of land each for the project.
Ogbeh said these at the public hearing on the motion “‘urgent need to address the incessant clashes between herdsmen, farmers and their host communities in Nigeria” and “introduction of micro irrigation (drip irrigation) for farmers in Gombi/Hong Federal Constituency in Adamawa State and in other parts of Nigeria,” held by House Committee on Agricultural Production and Services on Tuesday.
Plans for the grazing initiatives are already underway, Ogbeh said adding that the government would embark on its implementation as soon as the 2016 budget is signed.
He added that 70,000 rice farmers in Kebbi State have entered into a partnership with the government to produce 1.5 million tonnes of livestock feed with rice stalk.
This, the minister noted, is in addition to plans to revive 415 grazing locations across the country through the provision of requisite facilities.
“I hear there is a bill in the Senate seeking to create grazing routes, where are they grazing to, to another man’s farm? Creating grazing routes is not the solution as it is known world wide that cows kept in ranches produce better than grazing cows,”Ogbeh said.
The grazing initiatives, he said, would help stop the looming crises caused by the incessant clashes.
The Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Mohammed Tahir Monguno, said the clashes between herdsmen and farmers had become a topical issue which calls for concern.
He added that the economy of the North-east with agriculture as it’s mainstay has been seriously affected by the activities of Boko Haram.
Monguno therefore called for the provision of intervention funds and farm inputs such as fertilizers to returnee internally displaced persons (IDPs).