Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
The Ohanaeze Youth Council (OYC) has called on the Southeast governors to mobilise funds and empower indigenous farmers in the region to embark on a large scale rearing of cattle and other livestock.
The group which represents the youth wing of Ohanaeze Ndigbo made the call yesterday in reaction to the raging controversy generated by the Ruga policy which the federal government suspended following public outcry.
In a statement signed by Chukwuemeka Chimerue, special assistant on media to the president general of OYC, Comrade Igboayaka O. Igboayaka, the group reasoned that by encouraging Ndigbo farmers to establish modern ranching the problem of Fulani herdsmen menace would become a thing of the past in the Southeast.
According to the OYC, using the ranching method would yield adequate production of milk and meat to meet the agricultural needs of our people.
“To break the ethnic monopoly of the livestock business since it has grown to become a problem for all, our governors must step in swiftly to grant loans to our local farmers who engage in cattle ranching.
“We must break this monopoly, not only to sanitise and upgrade the livestock business and make it more rewarding, but also to put an end to imperialist, wanton killings and territorial claims,” the OYC said.
It further stated that “the system will definitely improve the quality and safety of the beef and dairy products suitable for export and our local consumption”.
The Ohanaeze Youth Council regretted that after the war the entire Southern half of Nigeria appeared to have given up agriculture as a business meant for the North, citing the neglect of Obudu Cattle ranch which used to produce high quality livestock.
The youths recalled that in the past rearing of livestock was a big business in Igbo land hence the nerd to revive it with modern ranching and adequate funding by state governments.
.”If this is generously carried out, it would encourage more of our people to go into cattle ranching business. It would also create employment for our youths,” the OYC stated.
The youth group also suggested that cooperatives should be formed by those in livestock business and those interested in it to maximise the benefits.
“If standard ranches are built for our local farmers to rear their cattle and other livestock, then it would be easier to impose and ban open-grazing in our lands which has severally contributed to conflicts, deadly confrontations, killings and destruction of farmlands and valuable properties by Fulani nomadic herders who engage in open grazing of cattle,” the OYC said.