Published On: Tue, Aug 1st, 2017

FG Has 2.25 Million Hectares Of Grazing Reserves In 21 States Since 2013 -Expert

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YOLA/By Tom Garba – The Federal Government has a total of 2.25 million hectares of grazing reserves in 21 states since 2013, a retired director with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Hamman Walia said on Monday.

Mr. Walia, who had served as Coordinator, National Livestock Development Project, North East Zone, said in an interview with our correspondent in Yola that the reserves were gazetted by the government.

He said the government should utilise the reserves properly to end the recurring conflicts between farmers and herdsmen.

“The National Livestock Development Project under Federal Ministry of Agriculture from 1974 to 2013 has gazetted about 2.25 million hectares of land for the purpose of grazing reserves in 21 states and Abuja.

“The present Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe seems not to understand the development because the land is already in existence and was legally acquired and gazetted by the federal government.”

Mr. Walia, a retired Director in the ministry of agriculture and rural development, said the reserves are located in the 19 northern states and in Ogun and Oyo as well as Federal Capital Territory.

According to him, the ministry has the documents and all the states have knowledge of the development.

He noted that livestock production in the country had been left largely in the hands of pastoralists.

“However, in recent years, it has become increasingly apparent that the traditional pastoral mode of production has gradually been influenced by the changing nature of the political, socioeconomic, and biological environment.

“The solution to these challenges is through sustainable grazing and stock route development with sole aim of settlement of transhumance pastoralists.”

The former official advised government to transform the system by guiding pastoralists to strategically migrate to commercial farming which includes ranching.

He emphasized the need for the three tiers of government to collaborate and develop a synergy in respect of grazing reserve and stock route development.

Mr. Walia said such synergy would facilitate effective migration from the traditional transhumance pastoralism to ranching and other aspects of livestock value chains.

“Government should consider grazing reserve and stock route development as provision of agricultural services,” he added.

The expert said Nigeria has enough land area of up to 92 million hectares of which 82 million hectares was arable.

“Total gazetted grazing reserves area is 2.25 (2.7%) million hectares.

“Previous agricultural policies have recommended 10% of land mass of each state for grazing reserve and corridor development, but only Gombe state has met the recommendation.

“Most of the Northern states excluding Benue state has gazetted between 0.1 per cent and five per cent of the arable land for grazing reserve development.’’

Mr. Walia also advised the federal government to work with the document, so as to tackle problems of sustainable grazing and stock route development, thereby ending conflict between farmers and herders.

He said Adamawa has 69 grazing reserves, the highest in the country, out of which 31 reserves covering 122,143 hectares of land was gazetted.

It is followed by Borno and Bauchi with 56 and 42 grazing reserves respectively out of which 15 and 27 were successfully gazetted with a total of 446,583 and 230,243 hectares of land respectively.

He said Ogun has one ungazetted grazing reserve covering 61,000 hectares while Benue has 10 ungazetted grazing reserves of over 28,000 hectares.

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