By Emmanuella Anokam
The Federal Government says it is working towards resolving farmer/herder clashes through the revival of grazing reserves in 21 out of the 36 states of the Federation.
Alhaji Sabo Nanono, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, disclosed this on Tuesday in a Webinar on Nigeria Dairy Industry.
The webinar was organised by the Policy and Advocacy Centre (PAC) of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI).
It is to mark the World Milk Day, 2021 with the theme: “Sustainability in the Dairy Sector.”
This declaration by the Federal Government came as the ACCI’s policy centre issued a policy brief on Nigeria Dairy Sector with far reaching policy recommendations to deepen and expand the dairy sector.
Nanono, representated by Mrs Mercy Otiteh, said the ministry had mobilised contractors to various sites across the country with a target to revive the grazing reserves.
According to him, work is presently ongoing with monitoring team supervising progress of works at various centres.
Nanono said the Federal Government was committed to providing infrastructures that would make the reserves suitable for pastoralist, thereby increasing Nigerians local dairy production capacity.
He noted that government was collaborating with local and international partners to improve relationship between farmer/herder through revitalisation of grazing reserves.
He urged Nigerians to support government efforts in its avowed resolve to find lasting solution to the clashes.
Dr Al-Mujtaba Abubakar, President, ACCI while commending government’s efforts, officially released the ACCI policy brief on Dairy Sector in Nigeria.
Abubakar called for intensive backward integration within the dairy sector as currently championed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the ministry of agriculture.
“The major policy thrust of the ACCI-Policy brief on the dairy sub-sector are as follows: Continuation and expansion of backward integration being supported by CBN and Private-sector-driven implementation of the National livestock transformation plan.
“Creation of the private sector driven ranching system, Establishment of a National Dairy Board, Training and capacity building of pastoralists and Deployment of modern technology to every segment of the dairy business,” he said.
Also speaking, the Vice President Agric, ACCI and Chairman, Agric Trade Group, Dr Kolawole Owoka, called for concerted efforts to increase local production of milk to save carve foreign reserve.
Owoka said that ending open grazing was in the collective interest of Northerners and Southerners and urged governments to fast track ongoing works on the grazing reserves.
The keynote speaker, Mr Azubike Nwokoye from ActionAid Nigeria, also called for increased government funding in agriculture sector, especially the livestock industry due to the current national security challenges.
Azubike said adequate funding was necessary to realise the goal of ranching and grazing reserves, noting that without funding it would be difficult to stop open grazing.
“Cow rearing demands lots of water. Therefore, we suggest that solar power borehole should be widely provided to meet the needs of pastoralists and cows,” he added.
Mr Israel Dan’Auta, Representative of Chi Ltd., commended the Federal Government, CBN and Niger State government for their support to expand local production of milk.
Listing various efforts by Chi Ltd. to source milk locally, he said its ongoing project in Niger was being deployed to empower local milk producers as well as raise new breeds of cows with higher milk generating capacity.
The Director-General, ACCI, Victoria Akai, advised governments at all levels to put the private sector in the driver seat on the implementation of national livestock transformation plan.
She said that Public Private Partnership is at the heart of the ACCI policy brief that would be widely circulated to governments and stakeholders for actions. (NAN)