• Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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Edo reserves 2000 hectares for ranching to curb grazing crisis

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To protect food and cash crops from destruction by grazing cattle of nomadic herdsmen, the Edo State government says it has reserved 2000 hectares of land for the establishment of ranch in the state.

The land, which is located at Okpilla in Etsako East Local Government Area, has been reserved as grazing reserve since the past 21 years. Abdul Oroh, the state commissioner for agriculture and natural resources, stated this when he appeared before members of the Edo State House of Assembly’s plenary session.

The commissioner was invited to brief the House on measures so far taken by the state government to address the incessant cases of clashes between Fulani herdsmen and several farming communities in the state.

The lawmakers had between May 10, 2012, and June 27, 2013, passed resolutions on the clashes between Fulani herdsmen at Ologbo in Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area and Odighi and Odigutue communities in Ovia North-East area, respectively.

Oroh, who noted that the Fulani herdsmen cases had assumed a national dimension, said the state government was also considering setting aside parcel of lands in all the major entries point to the state across the three senatorial districts for setting up grazing reserves.

He said if established, the reserves would among others encourage organise and coordinated method of grazing by herdsmen. The reserves, which he said would have well equipped veterinary offices and recreational facilities, would also serve as a meeting point for livestock products, among others.

The commissioner, who observed that these were temporary measures, however advocated that a modern ranch technology could stem the movement of live cattle across the country.

He posited that a ranch of about four hectares can accommodate about a thousand herds of cattle.

“I was also advised by the officials of my ministry that by using modern technology you could do a ranch of not more than four hectares and that can accommodate about a thousand herds of cattle,” he stated. Speaking further, he said “but I think the modern method of livestock production is what is required in Nigeria. We can carry a refrigerated truck from the North to sell it to supermarkets all over the country. We can produce livestock anywhere in the country. It does not have to come from Mali, Chad or Benin Republic, or anywhere.”

He then added: “We can graze and produce any livestock in Edo State in abundant quantities. So, we should also rise up to that challenge that what is coming here to creating a menace to us, especially insecurity that is threatening us, that we can deal with them here. If we have abundant of it here we cannot expect that people will bring it elsewhere and find a market here. That is also a challenge to us.”

While calling for a legislative measure, he however urged the lawmakers to enact a law that would coordinate and regulate the activities of cattle herdsmen in the state, saying the state had moribund ranches at Igarra and Ubiaja as well as a dairy farm, and the ranches were available for public private partnership participation.

A committee has been set up by his ministry to engage the national association of cattle breeders on dialogue, he said, as heads of security agencies in the state had also be briefed of the development.

IDRIS UMAR MOMOH