Inaugurates interim board of Bank of Agriculture
Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The federal government has proposed a national conference to address the protractive and bloodletting conflicts between herdsmen and farmers.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, made this disclosure after receiving a report of commission on the dispute set up in collaboration with Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO). He said the national conference that would bring all the major stakeholders including, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) the farmers, Interior Ministry, the Nigeria Police among others to analyse the crises, would hold in the second week of June.
The report, containing recommendations, was submitted by FAO representatives, Dr. Rabe Mani. The Secretary General of MACBAN, Baba Ottman Ngalzarma, was also a member of the committee.
“The report on conflict of cattle breeding is not a nuisance but a blessing. We have gone through it and the conclusions. And National conference will hold in the second week of June to analyse this problem and the possibilities. We need the herds to produce skin and dairy products and the farms to cultivate food, Ogbeh said.
He said Nigeria should take a cue from Holland which utilises 25 per cent of its landmass for ranching, adding Nigeria’s
land should not be a source of friction. The report looked at the 450 grazing reserves in the country, why some of them were in disuse, in addition to movement of cattle from other countries into Nigeria.
Some of the key recommendations access to land for livestock production to allow states to review existing laws on grazing reserves.
It also recommended access to capital and market by small producers.
Similarly an interim board of Bank for Agriculture (BoA) was inaugurated by federal government.
The new management has Kabiru Mohammed Adamu as the Managing Director. He would be assisted by four Executive Directors including, Gabriel Okenwa, Niyi Akenzua, Emmanuel Ameh and Bode Abikoye.
Inaugurating the board, Ogbeh said it would take over the role of direct lending of money to farmers from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
He lamented the cost of borrowing at 18- 20 per cent, saying that it was unbearable by farmers.
He charged the new board to bring down interest rate to a single digit and as low as possible, adding that interest rate for China, India and whole of Europe is between 31/2 to 3.5 per cent.
Ogheh said the average loan to farmers last year was N220,000, adding that the lending was put to good use by the beneficiaries.
He said with 66 per cent of Nigeria’s revenue used to service debt and both local and foreign debt standing at $56 billion, farming is the only means to sustain and develop the economy.
Mohammed said the board would work to meet government expectation in diversifying the economy.