‘Creation of ranches remains best form of animal husbandry’

The Association of Ranch Owners of Nigeria lauded the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari led federal government to suspend the implementation of the Rural Grazing Area Scheme (RUGA).

This is as it has urged policymakers to use the opportunity of the suspension to re-examine the concept and modalities of the scheme in the interest of national harmony, understanding and peaceful co-existence.

The association, in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Tajudeen Abdulkareem, however, noted that the creation of ranches remained an enduring, sustainable and profitable way of animal husbandry in the country.

“This Association pleads with all Nigerians to give the Federal Government the benefit of doubt in its intention to find a lasting solution to the farmers-herders conflict.

“We are convinced that the most enduring solution to the internal conflicts that have claimed many lives and destroyed communities is to promote peaceful co-existence by accommodating one another.

‘We also believe that the creation of ranches will, on the long term, promote sustainable meat production, expand business opportunities and create wealth for entreprenuers.

“This Association welcomes all like-minds in the search for an enduring, sustainable and profitable animal husbandry venture – modern ranching.

The association argued that the creation as ranches as part of the provisions of the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP), 2019-2028, was agreed to by all state governors at the Nigerian Governors’ Forum meeting held on January 17.

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Though the livestock plan gave liberty to states to determine the manner of implementation, the association noted that Bayelsa state which started a ranching scheme in 2017 had provided the lead for other states to follow.

In light of this, the association urged Nigerians to have an open mind towards the federal government in its desire to find a lasting to the farmers-herders conflict by allowing the implementation of the National Livestock Transformation Plan.

 “The plan has six pillars through which it aims to transform the livestock production system in Nigeria along market-oriented value chain while ensuring an atmosphere of peace and justice.

“The six key pillars include: economic investment, conflict resolution, justice and peace, humanitarian relief and early recovery, human capital development and cross-cutting issues such as gender, youth, research and information and strategic communication.

“We will also like to state that the National Livestock Transformation Plan was approved by all state governors at the Nigerian Governors Forum meeting under the umbrella of the National Economic Council. NEC had on January 17 approved the plan based on the recommendations of a Technical Committee of the Council chaired by Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State.

 “The National Livestock Transformation Plan, NLTP, 2019-2028 is a programme to be implemented in seven pilot states of Adamawa, Benue, Kaduna, Plateau, Nasarawa, Taraba and Zamfara (as decided by NEC in January), being states in the frontlines of the farmer-herder crises. Afterwards, six other states have indicated readiness to also implement the plan. They are Katsina, Kano, Kogi, Kwara, Ondo, and Edo.

“Other governors on the committee and Working Group of NEC are those from Adamawa, Kaduna, Benue, Taraba, Edo, Plateau, Oyo and Zamfara – mostly the frontline states in the farmer-herder crises,” the association argued.

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