Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: Nation is Losing Beef, Milk to Other Countries

Kaduna — The chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders' Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), in Zaria local government, Alhaji Umar Abubakar lamented that herdsmen who have over 5,000 cattle have relocated to other African countries with adequate grazing reserves.

Speaking in an interview with Daily Trust in Kaduna, the Chairman said that the passed government had laid down grazing reserves but encroachment by farmers have taken over the lands that were contained in government gazette as grazing reserves which is causing a lot of conflict between farmers and herdsmen.

"Some African countries have deceived the Nigerian government because herdsmen who have over 5,000, 6000 cattle have left the country to other African countries like Ghana, Guinea Bissau and even Kenya because the governments of those countries have got a permanent residence for them and their cattle.

"The reason why they have left is because the Nigerian government is only interested in farming and distributing fertilizer to the farmers not thinking about the cattle breeders and cattle rearing is very important. If the government does not make adequate provision for these two businesses that is farming and cattle rearing in the near future it will be a great loss to the country and a gain to another countries," he maintained.

He appealed to the governments at all levels to ensure that areas demarcated as grazing reserves and the three major stock routes are adequately maintained as it is time for herdsmen to have grazing reserves, while urging it to find a lasting solution to the problem at hand.

"The Nigerian government is only interested in crop production and that is why they are placing so much emphasis on the distribution of fertilizer and other farming implements without putting cattle rearing into consideration. If the government in the near future does not carter for the two business ventures equally by giving each the priority it deserves, it will cost the country so much in terms of milk and beef.

"When the raining season comes, if a herdsman has over 60 cattle, he will continuously be paying visits to police stations due to conflict because that is when we move the cattle and in moving them, we will pass through farms to get food as well as water because now due to the consistent irrigation farming, farmers plant their crops close to the dams there by causing conflict when the cattle encroach into their farms," he stressed.

He decried that during raining season herdsmen get into more trouble with farmers because they have nowhere to keep their cattle due to the rain adding that the wealth that comes from the cattle is for the benefit of the whole country and not just the herdsmen.

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