Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja
The federal government has penciled three ‘willing states’ down for the take-off of the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP).
The Committee set up by the National Economic Council (NEC) on the Farmers/Herders Crisis disclosed this to State House Correspondents after a meeting with the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), at the State House on Tuesday.
The NLTP is the NEC’s proposal to address the problem. In the implementation plan, only states willing to contribute land for grazing reserves and other facilities will participate.
Chairman of the Committee and governor of Ebonyi State, Mr Dave Umahi, who spoke to journalists after the meeting, emphasised that the NLTP will put an end to the incessant conflicts, leading to waste of lives and property that have trailed farmers/herders conflicts
Umahi explained that the choice of participation is left with states, adding that the federal government would be responsible for the development of the sites in the states that agree to it.
“We are getting there. We have penciled down three states that we have evaluated: Adamawa, Plateau and Nassarawa. So, we are going ahead to ask them to submit their programmes and costing for implementation.
“The expectation is that we have clear mandates. One is that this programme is going to resolve to a very large extent the farmers-herders conflict. So, if we revive some of the grazing reserves, especially in the north, for willing states, we are going to see this conflict come down. Then, also a modern way of cow rearing for greater benefits. These are things we expect to see.
“We have spoken to people in the grazing reserves, spoken to the traditional rulers, the district heads and the population within that location and they are willing to go with the programme: the NLTP.
“In this programme, you are going to have some farmers that are within the grazing reserves doing their farming and the herders also doing theirs. Of course there is going to be a demarcation.
“The emphasis still remains that it is the willing states. Even if you have grazing reserves like some states in the north and the state is not willing to key into it, it is not compulsory”, he explained.
Speaking on the investment of his state into rice production and the criticism that has trailed the quality of locally produced rice in Nigeria, Governor Umahi noted that Nigeria had become better, economically for it since the President Muhammadu Bihari administration had decided to focus on it.
“You can see our GDP is rising because we get help from the federal government, from CBN and the fertilizer programme. So, there is no doubt that our GDP is rising and the youth are finding work to do.
“The programme of rice production in Nigeria is quite a success. Forget about people who are politicizing it. It is like you mount a road block and the criminals will turn around and engage people to start shouting that you are dehumanizing the people.
“There is food everywhere and I have used my state as example and my in-laws and brother from Nassarawa. There is no time that trucks that would ever come to buy rice in a local market or mills and exhausted all the rice.
“That’s an index that we have attained rice sufficiency in Nigeria. Forget about those who want to import rice and making all kinds of noise. The rice is there.
“It is sustainable because there is now profit in it and so where there is profit and our people are embracing modern way of agriculture and there is funding, then it is sustainable,” he said.