Multi-billion naira cattle colonies yet to take off

Multi-billion naira cattle colonies yet to take off

The construction of cattle colonies by the federal government to address crises between herders and farmers is yet to take off, Daily Trust investigations have shown. Creation of cattle colonies for herders is one of the solutions contained in the National Livestock Development Plan (NLTP) launched by the federal government in January and its implementation

The construction of cattle colonies by the federal government to address crises between herders and farmers is yet to take off, Daily Trust investigations have shown.
Creation of cattle colonies for herders is one of the solutions contained in the National Livestock Development Plan (NLTP) launched by the federal government in January and its implementation is expected to have commenced since then.

The 10-year plan was developed to check the incessant conflicts between the headers and the farmers.
It was developed by the National Economic Council (NEC), chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. The Ministry of Interior and that of Agriculture and Rural Development were also part of the drafting committee.

Daily Trust reports that the idea of the cattle colonies was first disclosed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Audu Ogbeh in January 2018 at a Strategy Retreat for civil servants and political appointees of the ministry in Abuja.
Daily Trust reports that the plan seeks to establish ranches in seven states of Adamawa, Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Nasarawa, Kaduna, and Zamfara mostly hit by severe farmers-herder conflicts.
The plan is expected to costs the federal government and the participating states N92 billion with an additional over N100 billion from the private sector.
Daily Trust investigations have shown that no colony has been created in any of the pilot states.
Our correspondent reports that the implementation of the livestock plan is yet to commence.
Director of Livestock Services in the state Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Edward Amali, told our correspondent in Makurdi that work has not yet started on the pilot project in the state.
Amali said the delay was because his ministry was working to seek the state government view about the FG’s idea of cattle colonies which contravenes the Benue anti-open grazing law.
“The state government has to take a stand on the matter, so for now, implementation has not started,” Amali said.
In Kaduna State also, the Public Relation Officer, Kaduna State Ministry of Agriculture, Dahiru Abdu, told Daily Trust that work at the proposed site has not yet commenced.
“You know the just concluded general elections might be the reason why the commencement was delayed. They are waiting for disbursement of funds from the office of the Vice President,” he said.
Similarly, the Zamfara State Commissioner for Agriculture, Alhaji Lawan Jibrin Jangebe, told Daily Trust that “We are yet to be contacted on anything like that. So I can tell you that there is nothing like cattle colonies in the state at least for now,” he said.
Mapping of areas begins in Plateau
However, reports from Plateau State show that the mapping of proposed areas and soil testing have begun in Wase and Kanam local government areas of the state.
Wase in Plateau’s southern senatorial district and Kanam in the central district have vast lands. The State government had also budgeted the sum of N250 million for the establishment and management of ranches in the 2019 appropriation bill.
Plateau State Commissioner of Agriculture Hosea Istifanus told Daily Trust on phone that the proposed plan was to establish ranches not colonies which, he noted, could easily be misinterpreted.
He said, “We have grazing reserves in Kanam and Wase local government areas that were gazetted over 50 years ago and so far we have done the coordinates of the areas in the two LGs. We have also embarked on enumeration because there are cases of encroachment but because the programme is people-friendly, government doesn’t want to chase the people out but to incorporate them into the programme. Therefore no one will be displaced.”
He further stated that specialists have been taken to the affected areas to get samples of the soil for testing, stressing that, “we also have to harvest water, we have existing earth dams but they are not in good shape so the specialist that came from Abuja will do their own findings.”
A former councillor in Wase, Shafií Sambo, told Daily Trust that a large expanse of land around Mavo-Gimbi area of Wase had been mapped out for the project three months ago.
Reports from Adamawa State also show that implementation of the plan has commenced at Gwagarap village in Shelleng local government area of the state with the clearing of land in preparation for pasture development.
Our correspondent in the state reports that boreholes with overhead tank have been provided in the area for takeoff.

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