The Federal Government on Wednesday vowed to end the herdsmen and grazing conflict within three to four months.
This was according to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Chief Audu Ogbeh, who made the declaration in Abuja, adding that plans have reached advanced stages for the elimination of barriers against food security, as the signing of the 2016 budget is close.
Ogbeh who briefed members of the House of Representatives in the ongoing sectoral debate by the chamber, on the diversification of the economy said as soon as the 2016 Appropriation Bill is signed into law the ministry would begin appropriate steps to finding lasting solution to cattle roaming in the country.
He declared that creating grazing route is not being considered adding that the government’s intention is to go along with the establishment of grazing reserves around the country, especially in the north.
“The only reason why cows roam is because there is no grass and water. If we can give a Fulani grass and water, a large number of them would not be roaming. Cows don’t like walking around. Cows want to eat and sleep. They don’t like walking from Maiduguri to Lagos. I assure you this violence has to end. That is why we have to develop a special grass for our cattle,” he said.
“Nine states have written to me to develop grazing lands, they are ready to give 5,000 hectares of land. We intend to use boreholes to wet these areas. Grass is not grass, there are grasses and there are grasses,” he said.
According to him grazing reserves would not only boost the economic status of the Fulani man but guarantee the future of his children.
The minister however lamented on the dependence on excessive dependence on imported food like rice, tomato, honey among others, across the country, adding that the government is making efforts ensure self-sufficiency in food production.
He criticized does making huge fortune from the importation, stating it has been a huge challenge for government.
“They even protested against Central Bank of Nigeria CBN interventions. The challenge is, how do we cope with resistance, competition, cheap finance among others.
“Among other things we are putting in place, 40 rice mills would be installed around the country by December, with tomato paste and banana processing plants also on the way”.
He urged the lawmakers to make adequate budgetary provision for the ministry to enable it effectively address challenges such as grazing.