While speaking at an interactive session with newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, said that the ministry will begin the paddock development (growing of special grasses for cattle) in August.
The minister who said that after some time, the country would become an exporter of the grass to earn foreign exchange, added that the ministry had started bringing the special seeds of grass (fodder seeds) into the country.
“The Saudi Arabia is asking that if Nigeria can grow enough grass, they will buy to feed their cows,” he said while assuring that with the paddock development, the clash between farmers and herdsmen in the country would be put to an end.
“The clash between farmers and herdsmen has been getting worse by the years and by the grace of God I will bring it to an end,” he said, adding that “No farmer in the world would like to plant his crops and arrive to see that cows have eaten everything up,” he said.
According to TheCable News, Ogbeh noted that the problem had persisted because, over the years, successive governments had not done enough to check the problem, adding that most of the conflicts were been perpetuated by Fulanis from some West African countries such as Senegal, Mauritania and Mali.
He cited an instance where some of the herdsmen arrested could not speak any Nigerian language, adding that there was a need for the country to end the herdsmen roaming with cattle even it was a culture. “Whether it is a culture or not, we cannot afford it any more; it has to stop,” said Ogbeh.
He said that after the development of ranches, it would be an offence for any herdsmen to allow his cattle to roam the streets, adding that land has been allocated to government in some states that would be used for ranches for herdsmen to acquire for their cattle.
Ogbeh said that the ministry was collaborating g with the ministry of interior to provide security at the ranches to check activities of cattle rustlers.