As the search for free or low-cost pasture and livestock feed has remained the reason advanced for movement of animals from one location to another, the Federal Government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is set to flag off the National Pasture Development Programme.
The programme which will be flag off at Paikon Kore Grazing Reserve, Gwagwalada, FCT by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Muhammed Abubakar, tomorrow is aimed at creating awareness and build capacity of livestock farmers and entrepreneurs in communities to engage in commercial pasture production on processing and marketing.
The project development objective is to provide enabling environment and support for sustainable all year-round pasture production. To encourage private entrepreneurs to venture into commercial pasture/folder production through training and capacity enhancement on improve pasture production
It will also help to promote sedentarization of pastoralist and ensure adequate feed as well as reduce crop farmers/pastoralist conflict.
According to Director, Department of Animal Husbandry Services, Mrs Winnifred Lai-Solarin, the project would support increased climate smart livestock production and productivity, expanded rural economy for employment and income generation, identification, profiling and registration of participating farmers in conjunction with the state and other relevant stakeholders.
She said the Ministry will engage in sensitisation and training of farmers on various techniques of sown pasture production and management. There would be formation of forage production association and groups, identification and profiling of identified pasture farmers/producers. Capacity building of pasture farmers on pasture seed production, processing and marketing, distribution of improved pasture seeds to identified pasture farmers and provision of water harvesting structures.
“NAPDEP is meant to address this challenge and create awareness on the importance of growing and maintaining quality pasture, promote businesses along the pasture and fodder value chain and contribute to meeting the fodder needs of Nigeria’s livestock.
“With the present trend of competitive land use, effects of climate change, increased pasture production and fodder for the future requires deliberate development of sown pastures sustained with good management practices.
“FMARD in collaboration with national and international partners is supporting the formation of Pasture Farmers Association across the country; handholding livestock farmers including pastoralists across the country to develop homestead and community pasture fields as well as commercial pasture seed plots to ensure all year-round availability of pasture and pasture seeds.
“Providing affordable pasture seeds and pasture management equipment; providing support for private investment in pasture collection and processing in areas of comparative advantage for pasture development and conducting training and skills building for women and youth in pasture production, processing and marketing,” the concept note reveals.