The Nigeria Farmers Group and Cooperative Society (NFGCS), has launched a hydroponic fodder program to ensure improved feeding for cattle, eradicate open grazing and herders/farmers clashes in the country.
Tedheke Retson, national coordinator for the NFGCS, made the announcement at Ga’ate in Nasarawa State, where he was speaking on the program’s positive impact on national security, peace, and the agricultural sector .
Retson, who spoke at the end of the program’s unveiling, said he is a member of Miyetti Allah with a herd of 1, 000 cattle. However, he shared that even amongst those in Miyetti Allah, the narrative discussed is not open grazing, but rather structural processes sufficient enough to ensure that cows are fed.
He added that during a visit to the Ga’ate Farm estate , Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo observed that some of the policies directed towards making the National Livestock Transformation Program, (NLTP) work, were being practically implemented at Ga’ate Farm.
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants in which their root systems are submersed in a water- based nutrient- rich solution without the use of soil, requiring a special temperature-controlled environment.
In his address, Retson shared plans by the NFGCS to localize the concept of growing grass, and teach herdsmen how to build hydroponic units using wood and roofing sheets. These units would also make use of baskets and boreholes to plant the grass and water the hydroponic unit, respectively, allowing at least 200 cattle to feed each day.
Retson reported that the NFGCS would be giving the Fulani community around the farm center a borehole, a hydroponic unit and baskets so they could begin to plant, noting that the hydroponic method of growing grass is more nutritious to cattle, and often produces a greater yield.
Every one kilogram of maize planted, he estimates, will produce a harvest of over seven kilograms of seeds, stems and leaves within seven days, providing nutrient-dense, fresh food for cattle.