The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, disclosed on Wednesday that the Federal Government would end the herdsmen and grazing conflict within three to four months. According to Ogbeh, the government is not considering creating grazing route but to establish graze reserves around the country, especially in the north.
Ogbeh stated that the only reason why cows roam is because there is no grass and water. He said:
“If we can give a Fulani grass and water, a large number of them would not be roaming. Cows don’t like walking around. Cows want to eat and sleep. They don’t like walking from Maiduguri to Lagos. I assure you this violence has to end. That is why we have to develop a special grass for our cattle.”
He said nine states have already written to him to develop grazing lands and are ready to give 5,000 hectares of land. Adding that the government intend to use boreholes to wet these areas.“Grass is not grass, there are grasses and there are grasses,” he said.
He also said grazing reserves would not only boost the economic status of the Fulani man and also guarantee the future of his children. The minister who had briefed members of the House of Representatives in the ongoing sectoral debate by the chamber, on the diversification of the economy said as soon as the 2016 Appropriation Bill is signed into law the ministry would begin appropriate steps to finding lasting solution to cattle roaming in the country.
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Lamenting on excessive dependence on imported food like rice, tomato, honey among others, across the country, he said the government is making efforts to ensure self-sufficiency in food production. He also criticized those making huge fortune from the importation, stating it has been a huge challenge for government.
“They even protested against Central Bank of Nigeria CBN interventions. The challenge is, how do we cope with resistance, competition, cheap finance among others. Among other things we are putting in place, 40 rice mills would be installed around the country by December, with tomato paste and banana processing plants also on the way.”