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Lagos: Political favoritism reigns in leadership of sheep, goat farmers association — Otitoju



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NATIONAL Daily reported in April how Lagos State mismanaged N2b fund given to her, for onward distribution to farmers in the state. In another exclusive interview with the one of the executive of State Sheep, Goat and Cattle Association, Mrs Oladuni Otitoju, who is also the Chairperson of the Lekki Branch, it is revealed that the Sheep and Goats farmers are been neglected  and sidelined  in the scheme of farm funding activities in the State. In the recent land allocation to farmers in the state, while those in poultry sector received their individual land, the Sheep and Goats sector leadership are convincing their members to make do with a collective one plot for both rearing and selling of the livestock.
As in the N2 billion Naira that was met for farmers during the last regime, none of the members did really received any fund because the goats, sheep and feed were given to political followers as reward for their input in the state politics in detriment to the members potion. These political persons paraded themselves as farmers, who now resold to the actual members.
OladuniOtitoju decried the way and manner the leadership of the sheep and goats are handling matters of the association and called on the current Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture to intervene in this crucial matter. She reaffirm that, the buck of the association leaders do not really have animals or even own a farm, so they do not feel or rather know the pains and challenges of the members. These are retired executives of the ministry who through politics have gotten foothold of the association hierarchy to cart away the due rights of the really sheep and goats farmers in the state.
Otitoju bitter with crops of leaders who just tag along government decisions wither favorable or not   because of their selfish interest, reiterated that   the current leadership of the association are naïve about the operations of such livestock farming and that they know what exactly the famers need  – from breed, feeding and operational system.
The Lekki Sheep and Goats farmers association said a true farmer within this sector would need nothing less than three hectares of land  to operate a profitable business and wonders while those who parade themselves as leaders are agreeing with the government for just a plot of land for the entire association. To Otitoju, if the government can provide such land for the sheep and goats’ farmers, a good percentage of the problem are solved, in that the land would be enough for natural habitat grazing (feeding), healthy space and good space for multiplication.
Calling on the State Governor and the Ministry of Agriculture PS, Otitoju tasked the duo to come up with hybrid of these animals to help farmers achieve rapid growth and multiplication. Recounting her encounter with the Director of Sheep and Goats in the State Ministry of Agriculture, Otitoju said she was shocked when the director told her that the farmers should sought out the breed of the animals by themselves.
The question now is, what is the input of such department having in this sector  is it just collection levies and punishment when laws are breached?  Do one seek reward and rights where there know responsibilities?  These and many other questions the current administration need to deal with.
Otitoju reasoning in that, the department within the ministry of Agriculture and the association leadership has to come up with a blueprint on the best-practice in this farm business sector and it should be given a prompt attention by the State Government and the Ministry of Agriculture in charge. To her the ministry should also provide veterinary services equipped with genuine drugs to visit these farms at subsided cost. She recounted how she paid Forty-Five Thousand Naira to a veterinary doctor to treat four of her goats that had cough and upon that, she still lost one. At a business level that is already a loss because the four goats selling cost is far less than the cost of treatment.
Otitoju who bemoaned that in the entire Lagos State there are no specialized animal drug store and this gives room to adulterated and sub-standard drugs urged the department in-charge of sheep, goats and cattle to up with specialized veterinary doctors, drug stores, aside supplement feeds where farmers can get them to buy.
The woman sheep, goat and  cattle farmer said she still do not see a bank who will be ready to fund this aspect of livestock farming as getting fund for regular farming is difficult how much more  a farm business such as her own. She however said she has currently put up application with Bank of Industry and Bank of Agriculture for such loan to go amass into the business which to her is lucrative when all factors are in place.

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