By Adeola Badru
IBADAN-OYO State has been listed among sixteen states of the federation that would benefit from a $200 million World Bank grant to improve livestock production in the country.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Development, Barrister Oyewole Oyewunmi stated this yesterday during a press conference with representative of the World Bank team on Agriculture held at the conference room of the ministry.
Barrister Oyewunmi pointed out that the grant when accessed, would assist in boosting the various sectors of livestock production some of which include Poultry, Piggery, cattle and goat rearing, bee keeping, among others.
“World Bank and Federal Ministry of Agriculture are determined to intervene in rejuvenating the livestock industry in Oyo State and some others.”
“The livestock covers some value chain, namely poultry, piggery, sheeps and goats, cattle and honey. So also, we have some byproducts such as hides and skin as well as dairy.”
He stated that the World Bank would support the states through grants and soft loans from the listed focus areas.
The commissioner said that youths and women would benefit from the programme, adding they constituted 70 percent of the population.
Fielding questions from newsmen on whether the state would consider the Federal Government initiative to establish cattle colonies in twelve states of the country which Oyo State is one, to end the perennial farmers and herdsmen crises in the country, the commissioner said details and modalities of the Federal Government planned cattle colony were still being looked into.
Oyewunmi, however, allayed the fears of the people on the issue of ranching, saying the programme was aimed at livestock productivity and development of value chain.
“We heard that the Federal Government is considering building ranches as a way of solving the perennial crisis between herders and farmers in other to curtail the social and political crisis it was leading to.
“That idea has been proposed on the face of it, it would be the right move for government that ranching is a modern way of breeding cattle.
“Oyo State has not taken any position on the issue of ranching, we have to see the modalities and methods to be used by the Federal Government.”
He, however, said: “Ranching for herders will be treated as a private venture. The Land Use Act of the Federal Government has neither been amended nor repealed as the Act still vested on the state governor ownership of land to hold in trust for its citizens.”
Earlier, the World Bank Senior Economist, Mr Samuel Taffesse, said areas of intervention on the program were being examined in other to ensure its success.
“The demand for livestock in Nigeria is higher than the supply. Federal Government of Nigeria sought the assistance of World Bank in developing the livestock.”
“About sixteen states, including Oyo State has signified interest as requested by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture,” he said.
Taffesse said that the objective of the programme was to improve livestock productivity, develop resilience and strong value chain.