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The Federal Government on Thursday began implemention of its National Livestock Transformation Plans (NLTP) with the inauguration of a model ranching hub project in Awe Local Government Area (LGA) of Nasarawa State.
Inaugurating the pilot project in Awe, President Muhammadu Buhari, said it would be replicated in other states that have indicated interest.
Represented by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, the President said that the NLTP was deliberately initiated by his administration to develop the livestock sub-sector which had hitherto not been given proper attention.
“The project is well conceived to reform the livestock sector from nomadic dependent into an organised ranching one.
“At the moment, 22 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have registered with the NLTP Secretariat and Ten of them have created their own team that were already trained by the Secretariat.
“Seven out of the states have earmarked 19 grazing reserves for the implementation of the programme with over 400, 000 hectares of land,” the minister added.
He added that the project would ensure that herders stay in a particular location to develop their economy with the government providing necessary support.
He expressed optimism that the programme would succeed and thereby reduce the incessant farmers, herders crises in the country.
Buhari said that Nasarawa State Government provided 22,000 hectares of land Awe LGA for project in Awe LGA.
Also, Dr. Andrew Kwasari, Senior Special Assistant to the president on Agriculture and National Coordinator of NLTP said that 360 households in Awe were captured in the project.
He said government would provide technical assistance to the herders and the needed facilities befitting of a modern reaching system.
He pointed out that the herders needed to be educated on the benefit of ranching through practical experience hence FG’s decision on the pilot project for them to see.
In his remarks, Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State said that the state had keyed into the FG’s initiative in order to address the security problems associated with open grazing.
The governor added that the programme would go a long way to address the recurring crisis at the Nasarawa/Benue borders.
Sule urged the FG to ensure that the programme was implemented in all the state that have registered.
He, therefore, appealed to other states yet to key into the programme to do so in the overall interest of the country.
Speaking on behalf of the herders, Bala Dabo, Chairman, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in the state expressed gratitude to the President and the state government for making the project a reality.
He said that the initiative would be of immense benefit to the people as it would help tackle insecurity and boost productivity of cattles.
The event had in attendance Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau, traditional rulers from the state, government officials, herders among others.