By Salisu Sani-Idris
Karshi (FCT), Nov. 24, 2020 Dr Ramatu Aliyu, Minister of State for FCT, on Tuesday launched the distribution of supplementary feeds to pastoralists and farmers in the four grazing reserves in the federal capital.
Aliyu, while performing the ceremony in Wassa community in Karshi District, said that the move was aimed at promoting integration and peaceful co-existence.
“We are also using this measure to build friendships that will curb incessant farmers/herdsmen clashes,” she said.
The minister said that the measure would boost livestock production in the nation’s capital.
“President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is determined to restore the lost glory of the agricultural sector which was somewhat abandoned after oil was discovered and made the mainstay of the economy.
“It is estimated that Nigeria’s population will continue to witness exponential rise and attendant growth in the demand for food, so it is important to ensure that uncertainties related to food security are adequately addressed.”
She said that the Federal Government had made the establishment and development of grazing reserves a key aspect of its Agricultural Promotion Programmes (APP), with the livestock subsector playing a prominent role.
“The establishment and development of grazing reserves is therefore aimed at providing pastoralists and crop farmers with an integrated environment under which both can operate optimally, access their needs in a harmonious environment and eliminate issues that could result in conflicts.
“The overall objective is to promote peaceful coexistence towards harnessing the huge potentials that exist in the livestock subsector.
“In pursuant to this objective, the FCT administration has been implementing programmes towards creating the enabling environment for the two groups as well as other willing investors to operate and make positive impacts in enhancing food security and socio-economic well-being of the residents,’’ she said.
The minister revealed that the FCT administration was discussing with investors and development partners on the establishment of value chain ventures in the livestock subsector.
This, according to her, will develop needed infrastructure, create more job opportunities, enhance incomes and improve lives and livelihoods of communities within and around the FCT’s grazing reserves.
Aliyu said that plans were underway, with the support of the African Development Bank (AfDB), to establish a model Special Agro-industrial Processing Zone (SAPZ) on livestock production in the FCT.
She stressed that SAPZ would grant the administration the wherewithal to bring to an end the indiscriminate grazing of animals in the Federal Capital City.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the FCT, Mr Olusade Adesola, had said that the FCT administration had, through its relevant agencies and other stakeholders, been doing its best to bring the parties together.
He reiterated the need for them to embrace peace, especially in the grazing reserves, where much of the clashes occur.
Represented by Mr Samuel Attang, Director, Operations, Planning and Strategy, Permanent Secretary’s office, Adesola said that dry season was associated with increase in movement of pastoralists in search of feeds for their animals.
He added that due to the movement, there was likelihood of conflict between the two groups.
Mr Ibe Prospect, Acting Secretary, FCT Agriculture and Rural Development, in a remark, said that the importance of livestock sector in the quest to attain food security could not be overemphasised.
He noted that the sector, if well harnessed, had the capacity to generate jobs and income as well as provide the nutritional value that was required for healthy human development.
The acting secretary commended the FCT Minister of State for demonstrating dynamism in addressing the issue.
Prospect regretted that the incidences of violent conflicts between pastoralists and crop farmers had hindered efforts of government to fully harness the potential of the sector towards achieving desired objectives.