*Creating grazing routes not a solution -Agric Minister
By Emman Ovuakporie and Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA-SPEAKER of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara on Tuesday said there is need for deliberate and proactive actions to end the incessant farmers and herdsmen clashes spreading across the country,noting that if not properly checked could divide Nigeria.
Also, the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe cautioned against creating grazing routes for the nomads as this cannot solve the incessant clashes between them and farmers in different states of the federation.
Dogara noted this at the opening of the public hearing on the motion on the ‘urgent need to address the incessant clashes between herdsmen, farmers and their host communities in Nigeria’ and introduction of micro irrigation (drip irrigation) for farmers in Gombi/Hong Federal Constituency in Adamawa State and in other parts of Nigeria’, held by House Committee on Agricultural production and services.
Dogara who was represented by Onyema Chukwuka, assured that the Committee and stakeholders to make appropriate recommendations that will “go a long way in guiding the House in the enactment of appropriate legislation that will guarantee peaceful co-existence amongst the rural communities, provide affordable credit to Nigerian farmers, enable the farmer to procure fertilizer and other farm inputs with minimum effort, provide enabling environment for all season farming, ensure increased agricultural production both as a means of guaranteeing internal food security and diversifying the economy from over dependence on oil, amongst many other prospects.”
In his contribution, Audu Ogbe, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development who expressed concern over criticism trailing proposed importation of grasses for cattle especially on social media, warned that the challenge may boomerang if no concrete action is taken in checkmating the menace.
He said “I hear there is a bill in the Senate seeking to create grazing routes, where are they grazing to, to another man’s farm”.
“Creating grazing routes is not the solution as it is known world wide that cows kept in ranches produce better than grazing cows”.
According to him, 12 States of the Federation out of the 36 states contacted by Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development have already confirmed readiness to partner on the grazing and irrigation initiatives, adding that 9 States have agreed to provide 5,000 hectares of land each for the project.