The federal government Tuesday said it has commenced remodelling of grazing reserves into ranches in seven states.
The states are Adamawa, Taraba, Benue, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Zamfara and Plateau.
This, the government said, was part of efforts to transform and modernise the country’s livestock industry.
Executive Secretary National Commission for Nomadic Education Prof. Bashir Usman stated this in Zaria at the opening of a three-day capacity building workshop on the remodelling of grazing reserves into ranches.
But, the Benue state government told Blueprint it was not aware of the plan, even as it insisted the state would not compromise its Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranching establishment law.
Addressing the workshop however, the NCNE scribe, Professor Usman said the training was organised for 120 nomadic education extension agents and other officers of the commission.
Represented by the director, social mobilisation and women development in the commission, Alhaji Mohammed El-Nafaty, the NCNE boss said the existing grazing reserves had already been carved out, demarcated and gazetted.
He said 141 out of the 416 grazing reserves, spread across the six geo-political zones of the country with a total of 3.4 million hectares of land had been gazetted.
Usman further said the idea behind developing the grazing reserves into ranches was to provide state-of-the-art grazing resources for livestock herders in the country.
This, according to him, would curtail the persistent farmer-herder conflicts threatening peace and security in the country.
“This can be achieved through the transformation of grazing reserves into ranches otherwise known as Intensive Livestock Production Systems.
“This entails training and re-training of front line staff and other key stakeholders, effective community mobilisation and sensitisation through extension services.
“It also involves the identification, mapping and clustering of pastoralists and their communities in the existing grazing reserves as evidence-based data preparatory for the full implementation of ranching concept in the country.
“It equally entails the provision of the requisite resources and infrastructure to serve as a window of opportunities for the livestock producers to have access to improved production facilities and social amenities.
“Other provisions include schools, security, markets, clinics, livestock service centres, access roads, milk and meat processing centres along the value chains as well as other critical infrastructure,” Usman said, as quoted by the News Agency of Nigeria.
Count us out -BNSG
However, Benue, one of the designated states slated for the remodelling, said it was not aware of such plans by the federal government.
The state’s Commissioner for Agricultural and Natural Resources, Dr. Timothy Ijir, stated this Tuesday in Makurdi, in a chat with our correspondent .
He said: “We are not aware of the plans by the federal government to remodel grazing reserves. Moreover, Benue has no grazing reserves that are gazetted. If there is any arrangement by the federal government to restructure or remodel grazing reserve, then we are not part of it.
“The Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranching establishment law promulgated by the state government is still in place, and we are not ready to compromise it
“The federal government recently brought the National Livestock Transformation plan, which we have completely embraced.
“However, we are going to restructure the National Livestock Transformation Plan to conform with the Benue state Ranching law. In the new Livestock Transformation plan, we are going to localise it to include pigs, goats and of course cattle.
“But this will strictly conform with the law prohibiting open grazing, which also provides for ranching of animals in the state. Anything short of this, the state will not accept. We are not part of anything grazing reserves.