The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, says he will bring to an end the incessant Farmers/Herdsmen clashes that have been a major source of concern for Nigerians over the years.
The minister intends to achieve this through the importation of special grass seedlings into the country, which he believes when grown, herdsmen across the country would have more than enough fodder to feed their cattle and will not have to destroy farmers’ crops in search of pasture.
Ogbe revealed this during a discussion with journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, saying that the ministry has started bringing the special grass seedlings into the country and the commencement of ‘the paddock development’ (growing of special grasses for cattle) will kick-off in August.
“The clash between farmers and herdsmen has been getting worse by the years and by the grace of God I will bring it to an end,” he said.
He said the problem of farmers/herdsmen clashes would have been solved if successive governments had taken the issue serious.
The minister maintained that there was a need for the country to end the herdsmen roaming with cattle even though it was a culture.
“Whether it is a culture or not, we cannot afford it anymore; it has to stop,” said Ogbeh.
He said that after the development of ranches, it would be an offence for any herdsmen to allow his cattle to roam the streets.
The minister said that land has been allocated to government in some states that would be used for ranches for herdsmen to acquire for their cattle, adding that the herdsmen would record more yields if their cattle were kept in one place than when they walk about in search of food.
Ogbeh said that the agriculture ministry was collaborating g with the ministry of interior to provide security at the ranches in order to check activities of cattle rustlers
He added that after some time, the country could even become an exporter of the grass to earn foreign exchange.
“The Saudi Arabia is asking that if Nigeria can grow enough grass, they will buy to feed their cows,” he said.