THE Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, Monday, disclosed that everything has been put in place by the Federal Government to establish cattle colonies that would solve the continued herdsmen/farmers conflict in parts of the country.
Ogbeh made this known during a two day ‘2018 Strategy Retreat’ organised by Synergos for special advisers and directors in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in Abuja, where he said facilities will be provided to take care of the herdsmen and their cattle, which they (herdsmen) have said if water and grass were provided they would not be moving with their cattle.
According to him the cattle colony project will start immediately following the offer of five hectares of land each by 16 states in the country, which also President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to help the ministry with money for the project.
He also stated that in terms of job creation, no sector of the economy could match agriculture, as he debunked claims that 4 million jobs were lost in last the last one year based on calculations on ministries, industries and cities, rather failed to see over 6 million jobs created in agric sector alone, and added that Hibiscus also known as Zobo has earned $35 million in the last one year to exporters as demand continues to increase.
He said: ‘On the issue of cattle we have to start immediately, 16 states have given us land to work on. The programme is not going to be cheap. Mr President has personally informed me that if we seek help from him he will give it to us over and above the budget we have, and when that budget is released I plead with all of you to come on board to work hard to achieve results.
“We are talking of cattle colonies not ranches so to speak, where we will provide water, grass, training for herdsmen, cattle breeding and insemination.
“We have to deal with an urgent problem, cattle rearing and the conflicts between farmers and herdsmen, and actually bring it to a halt. I know that some people argue that the culture of open grazing is our culture, but when a culture begins to develop dangerous trends leading to warfare between people and bloody clashes and death that culture is due for re-examination; if it is harmful we reform it.
“Nigerians are getting extremely uncomfortable with these killings and we may make political statements and issue palliatives and ask the police and army to go after killers. Let us do our own duty by eliminating the conflict by creating cattle colonies.”
According to the Minister 2018 Frontiers for the sector will focus on new plantations for cashew nuts, also relaunch of cocoa that will move the country up from number seven to number one in the next five years, improve fertilizer blending, which micronutrients will be included.
The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Bukar Hassan, in his remarks revealed that Nigeria will soon export organic fertilizer to Europe in February 2018, Hassan made this known while he called on ministers’ aide and civil servants to work together, because the ministry has enormous work to deliver Buhari’s change agenda before 2019 elections.
Meanwhile, in his remarks, the country representative, Synergos, Adewale Ajadi, called on directors and political advisers in the ministry to synergies and work assiduously and not to allow politics distract what has been started, because of no time to waste in achieving the mandate given to the ministers heading the ministry by Mr President and also to meet the expectations of Nigerians and investors.
Ajadi also urged the federal, state and local governments to work together and have proper coordination of activities and policies in the sector.
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