By Ginika Okoye
The Federal Government says it will hold a national conference to discuss and proffer solutions to farmers/herdsmen clashes currently ravaging the country.
Chief Audu Ogbeh, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, disclosed this when a joint dialogue to analyse the root causes of the crisis submitted its report in Abuja on Monday.
Ogbeh said the government would engage all stakeholders involved in cattle breeding, as well as farmers to discuss and analyse the situation with a view to finding the solution to the crisis.
The minister listed other stakeholders to be involved in the conference to include policy makers, the security agencies, Ministry of Interior and the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN).
He said that the government had earlier appealed to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to analyse the root causes of the clashes in the country, hence the submission of the report.
“The issue of herdsmen and farmers clashes and the big question of grazing reserves and ranches done by the committee is supported by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
“The committee has been working on this matter for two weeks and they brought the summary of their report today.
“We have looked at it to see how we can finally deal with this problem. We don’t like the conflicts and we do not want them to continue.
“We also want to make sure that cattle breeding is not a nuisance but a viable industry.
“We are targeting June 2017 for a major national conference on this matter and at that conference we will bring in all stakeholders.
‘‘We have to solve the problem and we will solve the problem,’’ Ogbeh said.
Dr Rabe Mani, the Assistant FAO Representative in Nigeria, Programme, said that access to land, capital, market, infrastructure, inputs and manpower were needed to improve the livestock production in the country.
He said the committee recommended at least a 10-year national livestock or ranch development plan to establish milestones and targets.
According to him, the reason for the plan is to aid entrenchment for implementation.
“We facilitated this team. We engaged a cross section of stakeholders ranging from state commissioners, traditional producers, practicing ranchers, people directly in the marketing of livestock products across the country.’’
Mr Baba Ngalzarma, the National Secretary of MACBAN, applauded the recommendation saying it would help to solve the problems being faced by its members if implemented.