Agriculture Business

NIAS canvasses conversion of grazing reserves to ranches to curb farmers herders crisis

* Says cows are national assets

By Adelola Amihere 

The Registrar, Nigerian  Institute of Animal Science, NIAS, Prof Eustace Iyayi has called on the federal government   to as a matter of urgency convert  all the gazetted grazing reserves int the country into ranches as an end to   curbing the lingering crisis between farmers and herders. 

 This is just as he insisted that cows form an integral  part  of national assets and  if the over 25million cows in the country are well managed, it could have been a top foreign exchange earner for the country, enhance food nutrition and security, increase employment and wealth creation as well as increase the social stability of the owners. 

Addressing journalists at a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday, Prof Iyayi pointed out that the root causes of the conflict has gone beyond familiar problem bothering on land and water use, obstruction of traditional migration route, livestock theft and crop damage, to drought, desertification, degraded pastures, dried up water resources across the northern sahelian belt. 

This according to him, has forced several numbers of heders to migrate from the north to the south in search water and pastures for their herds. 

Lamenting that that Boko Haram iinsurgency n the Northeast, banditary and cattle rustling in the North west and north central zones has further exacerbated the crusis, the Institute rrcomemded establishment of ranches as a way of resolving the crisis. Saying ” We must move away from the transhumance mode to the modern and more sustainable ranching method of cattle production.” 

Iyayi said “All gazetted grazing reserves (Adamawa, 31; Bauchi 27; Borno 15; Gombe 4; Jigawa 2; Kaduna 2; Kebbi 1; Kogi 1; Kwara 1; Nasarawa 7; Niger 2; Plateau 1; Sokoto 8; Taraba 9; Yobe 17; Zamafara 6, FCT 4 and Oyo 2: 140) plus the ungazetted ones giving a total of about 405 should be transformed to ranches.

He called on the Federal government to work with the various Chambers of Commerce and Industry in the involvement of the private sector for operationalization of the ranching and commercial pasture projects.

Speaking on the impact the scarcity of maize and soyabeans has had on the livestock sector especially the poultry sub sector, the Registrar attributed the problem to the export of commodities barely leaving enough to serve local needs. 

He said, “Consequent upon the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disorganized the international supply chain, lingering insecurity in the north east and north west, farmers-herders conflicts, and flooding in some grain producing areas of the country, the livestock industry and particularly the poultry subsector has been hit by maize and soybean scarcity. 

“In addition, maize and soybean are being exported leading to local scarcity and price escalation of the two commodities.

” Increasing prices of the 2 essential commodities has resulted in the increase in price of finished feed by about 75%. This has led to the closure of small and medium sized poultry farms thereby threatening about 10 million jobs. 

He therefore, posited that to save the poultry industry from total collapse, the Institute urges the government to immediately halt the exportation of soybean and maize and grant import permit for them at official rate. 

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