Eleven states offer land for grazing reserve

Ene Okwanihe, Abuja

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Nigeria says governors from eleven states have provided 5000 hectares of land each in their states, for the establishment of grazing reserves.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Mr. Audu Ogbeh disclosed this while briefing newsmen on the upcoming retreat on Livestock and Dairy Development in Abuja, the Nigerian capital.

He said the ministry wrote to states and eleven of them responded.

The states are: Plateau, Kaduna, Kano, Gombe, Katsina, Taraba, Niger, Adamawa, Jigawa and Sokoto states.

Mr. Audu Ogbeh said the Federal government was also working to settle herdsmen on grazing reserves.

“If we can grass up these land areas, there will be no need for cows to roam from north to south and that is what we intend to achieve.”

He further explained that government will make provisions on the grazing reserves for schools for the children of herdsmen, markets for their wives, health and security facilities to be made available for them.

On the two day retreat, Mr. Ogbeh said the two day retreat is aimed at looking into how Nigeria can improve on the commercialization of the dairy and livestock industry in the country to boost food production and generate funds.

“So far in Nigeria has an estimated 19.5 million cattle; 72.5 million goats; 41.3 million sheep; 7.1 million pigs; 278,840 thousand camels; 145 million chickens; 11.6m ducks, 2.1 million turkeys, and 974,499 thousand donkeys, making Nigeria the number one livestock producer with 31.66% cattle, 46.3% sheep, 51.11% pig and 99.38% poultry in West Africa”, he said.

Mr. Ogbeh also decried the state of milk production in Nigeria

“Our milk production is extremely poor with about 1 litre per cow per day compared to Brazil and Saudi Arabia of 30-40 litrs per cow per day. Saudi Arabia produces 4.7 million litres of milk daily while Nigeria imports about $1.3bn worth of milk annually to make up the deficit.”

The Minister added that the way forward in improving the livestock and dairy industry is to intensifying efforts to add value to the industry along respective value chains.

The two day upcoming retreat which has at its theme; “Setting an agenda for commercializing Livestock and Dairy commodity value chain in Nigeria, is scheduled to hold on the seventh and eighth of June in Abuja.