In a bid to resolve the farmer/herder crisis, the Federal Government has embarked on the revival of grazing reserves in 21 out of the 36 states of the federation.
This disclosure was made by the Minister of Agriculture, Sabo Nanono during a webinar on Nigeria Dairy Industry organised by the Policy Centre of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) to mark the World Milk Day, 2021 with the theme, “Sustainability in the Dairy Sector.”
The declaration by the Federal Government is coming as the Policy Centre of ACCI issued a policy brief on the Nigeria Dairy Sector with far reaching policy recommendations to deepen and expand the Dairy Sector, a statement by ACCI Media/Strategy Officer, Olayemi John-Mensah disclosed.
The representative of the Minister, Mrs. Mercy Otiteh said, the Ministry has mobilised contractors to various sites across the country with a target to revive the grazing reserves.
According to her, work is presently ongoing with monitoring team supervising progress of works at various centres.
She said the Federal Government is committed to providing infrastructures that will make the reserves suitable for pastoralist, thereby increasing Nigeria’s local dairy production capacity.
She also said that the government is collaborating with local and international partners to improve the relationship between farmer/herder through revitalisation of the grazing reserves, urging Nigerians to support government efforts in this direction.
For his part, the President, ACCI, Dr. Al-Mujtaba Abubakar while commending government efforts, officially released the ACCI policy brief on Dairy Sector in Nigeria, calling for intensive backward integration within the Dairy Sector as currently championed by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Ministry of Agriculture.
In his words, “The major policy thrust of the ACCI-Policy brief on the dairy sub-sector are as follows: Continuation and expansion of the backward integration currently being supported by the Central Bank of Nigeria, Private-sector-driven implementation of the National livestock transformation plan, Creation of the private sector driven ranching system, Establishment of a National Dairy Board, Training and capacity building of pastoralists and Deployment of modern technology to every segment of the dairy business.”
Also speaking, the Vice President Agric and Chairman Agric Trade Group, Dr. Kolawole Owoka, said concerted efforts should be made to increase local production of milk in Nigeria, so as to save the nation from blowing up her foreign reserve on milk importation.
Owoka who is also a farmer, noted that ending open grazing is in the collective interest of Northerners and Southerners, urging governments to fast track the ongoing works on the grazing reserves.
The keynote speaker, Mr. Azubike Nwokoye from ActionAid Nigeria, called for increased government funding of Agriculture especially the livestock industry due to the current national security challenges.
Azubike said adequate funding is necessary to realise the goal of ranching and grazing reserves, noting that, without funding, it will be difficult to stop open grazing.
The representative of Chi Ltd., Mr. Israel Dan’Auta commended the Federal Government, Central Bank of Nigeria and the Niger State government for their support to expand local production of milk.
Listing various efforts of Chi Ltd. to source milk locally he said, the ongoing project in Niger state is being deployed to empower local milk producers as well as raise new breeds of cows with higher milk generating capacity.
Rounding up the seminar, the Director General, ACCI, Victoria Akai advised the governments at all levels to put the private sector in the driver’s seat on the implementation of national livestock transformation plan.
The DG said the question of Public-Private-Partnership is at the heart of the ACCI policy brief which will be widely circulated to governments and stakeholders for actions.