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Fed Govt gazettes 141 grazing reserves for ranches

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The Federal Government has gazetted 141 of the 416 grazing reserves in the six geo-political zones.

They cover 3.4 million hectares of land.

National Commission for Nomadic Education (NCNE) Executive Secretary Prof. Bashir Usman disclosed this in Zaria, Kaduna State on Tuesday during a capacity building workshop on the remodelling of the grazing reserves.

Usman, represented by the Director, Social Mobilisation and Women Development in the commission, Alhaji Mohammed El-Nafaty, added that the Federal Government had begun remodelling seven grazing reserves into ranches.

The states are Adamawa, Taraba, Plateau, Nasarawa, Benue, Kaduna and Zamfara.

He also told participants of the three-day workshop that the NCNE  had established 17 model nomadic education centres in the “carved out, demarcated and gazetted” grazing reserves.

The training was organised by the NCNE for 120 nomadic education extension agents and other officers of the commission.

The NCNE boss, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), explained that the commission was working closely with the Coordinating Office of the National Livestock Transformation Plan to transform and modernise the country’s livestock industry.

Usman stressed that the idea behind developing the grazing reserves into ranches was to provide state-of-the-art grazing resources for livestock herders.

This, according to him, will curtail the persistent farmer-herder conflicts that are threatening peace and security in the country.

He noted that transformation and modernisation of Nigeria’s livestock industry would cause a paradigm shift from a predominantly traditional, informal and uncoordinated industry, to a more formal and organised one.

The NCNE  said: “This can be achieved through the transformation of grazing reserves into ranches otherwise known as Intensive Livestock Production Systems.

“This entails training and re-training of front line staff and other key stakeholders, effective community mobilisation and sensitisation through extension services.

“It also involves the identification, mapping and clustering of pastoralist and their communities in the existing grazing reserves as evidence-based data preparatory for the full implementation of ranching concept in the country.

“It entails the provision of the requisite resources and infrastructure to serve as a window of opportunities for the livestock producers to have access to improved production facilities and social amenities.

“Other provisions include schools, security, markets, clinics, livestock service centres, access roads, milk and meat processing centres along the value chains as well as other critical infrastructure.”

Department of Extension Education and Skills Development (NCNE) Director Dr Abdu Ardo said the training was organised to build the capacity of participants to mobilise and sensitise pastoralists on the remodelling process.

Declaring the workshop open, Mr Andrew Kwasari, Special Assistant to President Mohammadu Buhari on Agriculture, said the measure would end the protracted farmers-herders clashes over scarce land and water.

Kwasari, who is also the Coordinator, National Livestock Transformation Plan, said the extension agents would demonstrate to farmers and pastoralists how to promote livestock production.

He added: “I hope in the next six months, we will begin to have success stories that would help the full implementation of the livestock transformation plan.”

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