FG to establish cattle colonies in 16 states for herdsmen

The Federal Government plans to establish cattle colonies across the country as part of measures to check increasing cases of farmers-herdsmen clashes.

Chief Audu Ogbeh, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, made the disclosure at a Strategy Retreat for Civil Servants and Political appointees of the ministry in Abuja on Monday.

According to him, 16 states have donated land to the Federal Governemnt for work to begin.

He also said the ministry would also engage in massive cattle breed improvement through artificial insemination.

Daily Trust quoted him as saying: “We want to handle the issue of cattle rearing and crisis between farmers and herdsmen and actually bring it to a halt.

“I know that some people argued that open grazing is our culture, once a culture begins to develop very dangerous trends, leading to warfare between people, bloody clashes and death, that culture is due for re-examination.

“A culture must not be left because it is a culture, if it is harmful, we reform it.

“We are talking of cattle colonies, not ranches. We are talking of massive cattle breed improvement through artificial insemination, we have to start immediately.

“Sixteen states have given us land to work on, the programme is not going to be cheap but 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.

“In our interactions with the herdsmen, they always say that if we have water and grass, we will not move anywhere, grass is not grass”.

According to the report, Mrs Winifred Ochinyabo, Senior Adviser to the minister on Special Projects and General Duties, explained that the cattle colonies would have social amenities such as good roads, a school for the nomads’ children and health facilities.

She said that agro rangers (security personnel) would also be at the colonies to help guard the animals.

According to her, “the national herbage has drastically been depleted. We don’t have enough edible grass for our cattle anymore.

“The pasture production will be encouraged in the colonies as feed for the cattle, and goats

“We will be encouraging the youths to grow grass,’’ she said.

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