By Francis Sardauna
The Katsina State Government has approved 5,000 hectares of arable farmland for ranching as part of efforts to curb the herders and farmers’ clashes in farming villages and communities across the state.
Governor Aminu Bello Masari, who disclosed this during the 46th annual conference of the Nigerian Society for Animal Production held at the Federal University Dutsin-ma (FUDMA), Katsina, said ranching system will enable the children of herders to have qualitative education.
He said that the only solution to the herdsmen and farmers crisis bedevilling some parts of the country is the establishment of ranches in the states, hence the provision of the 5,000 hectares of land.
Masari, represented by his Special Adviser on Livestock and Grazing Reserve, Dr. Lawal Bagiwa, explained that apart from the 5,000 hectares set aside for the pastoral development, he also earmarked 2,000 hectares for infrastructure and homestead farming in the ranches.
He said: “We also identified and beaconed over 3,000 kilometre stock routes across the state in order to provide pathways for herders. It is worthy to note that in the past farming season, we have not experienced conflict between the farmers and herders in the state.“In view of the federal government approval for the establishment of ranching programme, about 5,000 hectares is set aside by the state government for the system and 2,000 hectares for infrastructure and homestead farming in the ranches”.
Earlier, the National President of Nigerian Society for Animal Production (NSAP), Prof. Francis Abeke, identified improvement in livestock production as a sustainable measure that will revamp the country’s economy.“The value of the naira keeps decreasing in relation to other major currencies, leading to high cost of goods and services including livestock products. Food, especially animal protein, is fast disappearing from our tables, resulting in poor mental and physical development of many Nigerians.“If there is a time to redouble our efforts and channel our energies and resources to improving livestock production with a view to accelerating growth of the economy, it is now,” he added.On his part, the FUDMA Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Armaya’u Hamisu Bichi, urged the conference to come up with recommendations that will end the prevailing cases of herders’ and farmers’ crisis in the country.According to him, the conflict between herders and farmers has constituted a threat to national unity and harmonious coexistence and social integrity.