Wole Ayodele in Jalingo
Governors Darius Ishaku of Taraba State and Samuel Ortom of Benue state have reiterated that ranching is the only solution to resolve the recurring clashes between herdsmen and farmers that have claimed several lives and rendered thousands of people homeless.
In the same vein, the governors maintained that herdsmen must be supported by the government to establish ranches particularly in the area of provision of infrastructure. Addressing a crowd of people that attended a peace meeting they initiated to resolve the lingering communal clashes along the border
lines of both states at Kashimbila yesterday, both governors stressed that they are advocating ranching because it is the global best practice of breeding cattle.
In his own speech, Ishaku noted that the trend all over the world is ranching, saying movement of cattle from one place to the other is no longer encouraged. Citing Chile, which is one of the largest producers of cattle as an example, Ishaku stated that land would be provided for herdsmen to
establish ranches where they would be provided with special grasses that would make the grow faster, bigger and healthier.
To this end, he revealed that he’s already in discussion with the Minister of Agriculture to procure eight special grasses that would be planted on the Mambilla plateau and sold to ranches across the country thereby generating more revenue for Taraba state. “The trend all over the world is ranching. Moving cattle from one place to another is not encouraged all over the world. We will agree with one another to give land for ranching and I’m already discussing with the minister of agriculture to get about eight special grasses to be planted at Mambilla.
“Machines would cut the grasses when they’re matured and they’ll be put in bales to sell to ranches. It makes cattle grow faster, bigger and healthier. It would be another source of revenue for Taraba”, he stated. Also speaking, governor Ortom noted that Nigeria cannot afford to live in the forties and fifties when grazing was the norm but must be prepared to embrace ranching which is the global best practice.
He noted that the usual call in some quarters to reverse back to the grazing routs that were designated in the forty’s and fifty’s is not possible considering population explosion with its attendant activities such as road construction, schools, markets e.t.c that has significantly reduced the available land mass.
He further noted that the Nigeria land mass has again been reduced from the 923, 000sq kms it used to be with the cessation of Bakassi to Cameroon, stressing that the situation has to be managed. Ortom equally stated that with the current effort by the present administration to diversify the economy from oil dependency to agriculture and solid minerals, there must be a shift from grazing to ranching noting that grazing cannot go side by side with farming.
He maintained that Nigeria must borrow from advanced countries the way it borrowed the presidential system of government from the United States of America, but he noted that ranching cannot be done overnight.
“We must understand that ranching cannot be done overnight. We’re setting up machinery to collaborate with the federal government to establish ranches. We must support the herdsmen to establish ranches so that we can have lasting peace in our country because the land is no longer there.
“It is not enough to say we must ranch but we must support them by providing infrastructure and in many other ways. The herdsmen must have their way and the farmers must also have their way. It must be a
win, win situation so that all of us can live together as brothers and sisters and be happy”, he added.