Chief Audu Ogbeh, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, has addressed the public notion that there are plans by the government to reallocate lands to herdsmen in light of the recent establishment of cattle colonies, saying there is no truth to the speculation.
He said the main purpose of the cattle colonies was to put an end to clashes between farmers and herdsmen not to use herdsmen to colonise any state.
This will be done in partnership with state governments that will like to volunteer land for it. The Federal Government will fund the project and those wishing to benefit from it will pay some fees and newly-produced colonies will be able to take more cattle than the ranch previously proposed.
“While ranching is more of an individual venture for the herdsmen and those wishing to invest in the livestock sector, cattle colonies is a larger project where up to 40 ranchers can share same facility that will be provided by the government at a reduced rate. Already, 16 states have volunteered land,” he said.
He noted that this plan will help improve the production of milk and the availability of beef in the local markets.
All these were discussed during a visit to Abuja by Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, further praising the state’s commitment to developing agriculture.
“I happen to be one of the persons that keyed into the ranching policy when it was introduced. We saw some lands in Plateau and we provided them for the implementation of the policy.
The introduction of this policy is of interest to us, that is why we are always here. We also heard about the introduction of another one, that is the cattle colony and I said let me come back again. We will also key into this policy,” he said.
In his closing remarks, Ogbeh revealed that the government was planning a stakeholders’ meeting with the herdsmen and farmers in the land, so as to address the recent problem of endless killings.