As part of efforts to curb farmers and herdsmen clashes across the nation, 11 states have provided 55,000 hectares to establish ranches.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh said the states are Plateau, Kaduna, Kano, Gombe, Katsina, Taraba, Niger, Adamawa, Jigawa, Sokoto and the FCT.
Ogbeh made this known at a news conference on Thursday in Abuja. According to him, the 2011 National Agricultural Sample Survey indicated that Nigeria was endowed with an estimated 19.5 million cattle, 72.5 million goats, 41.3 million sheep, 7.1 million pigs and 28,000 camels.
Also, the minister said the country had 145 million chickens, 11.6 million ducks, 1.2 million turkeys and 974, 499 donkeys.
This impressive statistics however, makes Nigeria number one in livestock in Africa, but has not met the national demand of animal protein or contributed to the GDP over the years.
Audu Ogbeh decried the low milk production in Nigeria as a cow produced one litre of milk a day while a cow in Saudi Arabia or Brazil produced 30 to 40 litres.
Saudi Arabia produces 4.7 million litres of milk daily while Nigeria imports about 1.3 billion dollar worth of milk annually to make up deficit.
The minister disclosed that the way forward in improving the country’s livestock and dairy industry is to intensify efforts on adding value to the industry along the respective livestock value chains.
He said this administration has set out to establish ranches to be planted with high quality improved tropical grass and legume species, in line with the goal of attaining self sufficiency in animal protein.
Irrigation shall be provided for all year commercial fodder production to enhance settlement of pastoralist and ensure cattle, sheep and goat improvement through an expanded breeding programme through artificial insemination.
Also, dairy farmers will be grouped in clusters, their capacities built and equipped with milk collection facilities and single digit loan facilities.
On the new disease outbreak affecting maize production in some parts of Edo and in the South West, known as “army worm’’, the minister said relevant research institutes were working on it and the ministry was monitoring the level of threat it posed.
He therefore urged farmers not to panic, adding that the ministry would take further action if the disease is not controlled within a short time.