FG, 10 States agree to set up ranches to end herder, farmer clashes

The Federal Government announced on Tuesday it has agreed with 10 states to set up ranches to end the constant herder and farmer crisis in the country.

The Secretary of the National Economic Council National Livestock Transformation Plan (NEC) Sub-Committee, Dr. Andrew Kwasari, said the Federal Government and states would spend N70bn in the first three years of the pilot scheme, adding that N179bn would be spent over a 10-year period on the National Livestock implementation.

Kwasari said that the pilot scheme would be funded by the government, but a huge private sector investment of N100bn is foreseen between the third and 10th year.

The announcement on Tuesday follows a committee set up by NEC in January and headed by the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo to look into herdsmen and farmer clashes, and a subsequent sub-committee that was established in February also by NEC to find lasting solutions to the crisis. That sub-committee was chaired by the Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi.

At the media briefing to announce the programme, Kwasari said, “The National Livestock Implementation Plan is a mediation stemming from meetings and recommendations of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and NEC in 2017 as regards state interventions following the incessant pastoralist-farmer conflicts.”

The ten states that have signed on to the pilot phase of the programme include Adamawa, Benue, Ebonyi, Edo, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Oyo Plateau, Taraba and Zamfara.

According to Kwasari, “A ranch design has also been proposed in models of various sizes clustered in 94 locations in the 10 pilot states.”

He noted that there would be ranch models in 30, 60, 150 and 300 cows in a location within grazing reserves.

“Based on the carrying capacity of each of the model ranches above, as determined by pasture and fodder yields, land is allocated for pasture production,” he said.

Kwasari said that governors and private entities of the frontline states had donated land for the establishment of the pilot ranches.

Explaining the benefits of transition from pastoralism to ranching, the secretary said it would among other benefits improve genetic material of indigenous cattle for milk and meat production.

He added that it would also provide “critical market access” and better linkages between smallholder livestock producers and investors in agriculture technology.

Kawasari stated that the government would partner with private sector and other countries “to work with Nigerian research institutes in developing national cattle breeds for dairy and beef production over a 10 years period.

“The plan envisages cross-breeding scheme with exotic semen of Brahman on Sokoto/Adamawa Guadli for beef cattle, while Holstein Friesian/Jersey will be used to cross breed Bunaji.”

In terms of financing, Kwasari said, among other methods, the anchor borrower approach used for farmers would be adopted in the ranching model.

According to the legal framework set up by the government, pastoralists will be registered and recognized as cooperatives for the purpose of the ranching scheme.

“Cooperatives will benefit from the ranch resources on several terms including loans, grants and subsidies,” he stated.

“Expected milk output will be in excess of 200 million litres by the second year of the project (but by the first year of productivity). Our national milk deficit is about 700 million liters per year. Expected milk output is 700 million litres by the fourth year of the project,” he added.

He noted that seven breeder ranches in seven of the 10 pilot states would be created, adding that 94 ranches would be set up in 24 locations.

“One semen bank will be set up in each of the pilot states. Private artificial insemination and health facilities will also be established in each ranch zone,” he said.

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