Sokoto State has taken practical steps in tackling the open grazing of livestock by initiating a regional cattle ranching project that is expected to fully kick off in May.
According to Daily Trust, the project, which will cost about N3 billion, is situated on a 10-hectare expanse of land and will cater to more than 10,000 cattle.
The modern cattle ranch will involve high milk-yielding cattle breeds from Brazil, as well as high beef-yielding species from Argentina, which, when crossbred with the Sokoto Gudali cattle breed, will result in higher milk and beef production.
Also, the ranch will have an artificial insemination (AI) section that will produce for sale cattle embryos and semen with capacity to turn around the quality of animal husbandry in the State and beyond.
More importantly, the cattle ranch is expected to rake in N2 billion annually for Sokoto State when fully operational.
The state government has sen six local technicians to Buenos Aires, Argentina, for training. Their areas of training covered genetics and breeding, embryo transfer, artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization.
The paper reports that huge agricultural machinery will soon be moved to the site of the ranch, while other machines such as rakers, sprayers, mixers and planters, are already in place.
“We are expecting that in the first week of March, the semen and embryo will arrive Nigeria, flown directly from Buenos Aires to Sokoto,” said Adamu Abdulkadir, Director of Veterinary Services, who also doubles as the Coordinating Director overseeing the cattle breeding project.
“We want to improve the genetic buildup. As it is, the Sokoto Gudali (cattle breed) will only give you three to four litres of milk per day. By the time you improve the genetic buildup, it can give you 12 to 18 litres a day. This immediately means more money to the owner.
“When the state government embarked on this project, the idea was to improve the genetic makeup of our local breed, by cross breeding. We want to orient our people on new technologies, and methods of cattle rearing in the state.”
Abdulkadir also said that the Brahma and Brambus breeds from Argentina and the Girolando species from Brazil will arrive in the second week of May.
He described the project as “a revolution” which will not only boost the State’s internally generated revenue, but also create massive employment opportunities, as well as ensure a lasting solution to the issue of herdsmen/farmers clashes.
“This project is going to have positive economic impact on the populace of Sokoto State and beyond. It’s a revolution,” he said.
“We are now having an answer to farmer/herder clashes. On this ranch, we are going to produce feeds, soya beans, maize, sorghum, essentially to feed animals, and we will also grow a lot of pasture. It’s going to be produced in excess, such that the Fulani can come and buy.
“Also, we have another two thousand hectares that we are going to clear. With this the herdsman does not need to travel anywhere, that’s why we are saying people should come and see what we are doing.”