By Dayo Johnson
Ondo state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu has said that his administration would not give land to herders.
Akeredolu however said that his administration would key into the National Livestock Transformation Plan, NLTP, of the Federal Government to ensure that incessant clashes between farmers and herders are permanently eradicated.
The governor said this while playing host to a delegation of Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) led by its Country Representative, Mr Fred Kafeero.
According to him “the National Livestock agenda is simple and does not include conceding land to herders.
Akeredolu who noted that the National Livestock Transformation Plan has a lot of public misconceptions, however, explained that “the plan only involves having an area owned by the people where services will be provided for livestock owners.
”We will have an area where we can have livestock. It is an area where our people own but only providing services.
“We will ensure that there is grass and other ways of feeding this livestock. What we need to do is to encourage haulage, not by bringing the cows by road.
“You will bring your cows and other livestock to the livestock grazing area and you pay to feed them. FAO can offer advice. Our people give different interpretations to whatever we say or do.
“The National Livestock Transformation Programme (NLTP), a number of our people don’t even know what it is all about. And people see it as an attempt to give land to herders. Long before now, I have said we are ready in terms of having areas where the animals can graze.
“In the South West, we are going through a lot, especially in terms of insecurity. We do not expect FAO to handle insecurity for us but if there is a Programme or anything you can do to help us in solving these Farmers-Herders conflicts.
“It is becoming too destructive especially when it comes to your major area which is agricultural. In Ondo State, we are into animal husbandry and fish farming because we have the longest coastline in the Country.
” We do a lot of fishing. We are also into cash crops which we have been known for long before now. Our farmers are now afraid to go to farm because they can be kidnapped,” the Governor said.
Akeredolu noted that Ondo State, being an agrarian state with enormous potential in food crops, cash crops and aquaculture, would continue to appreciate the technical support of FAO at scaling up the production capacity of farmers in the state.
He, therefore, charged the global body to bring its expertise and technical know-how to bear on livestock farming by introducing modern techniques of herding cattle so that the livestock value chains would be greatly enhanced.
Earlier, the FAO Country Representative in Nigeria, Mr Fred Kafeero, said the global body has majorly being a technical institution for strengthening the production capacities of farmers through effective collaboration with governments at both National and sub-national levels.
Mr Kafeero, who described the long-lasting collaboration between the State Government and FAO as mutually beneficial, said the global body will continue to help within its core mandate to support the state and its farmers at ensuring security food.