Concerned stakeholders in Edo State Monday rejected the federal government’s planned cattle colony. Rather, they advocated the embrace of cattle ranching, which they said is a modern way of grazing.
The stakeholders who were drawn from the academics, state government, religious body, civil society groups, farmers’ association, security agencies and the media, made the submission in a symposium organized by the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Edo State Council.
The symposium had as its theme, “Sustainable agriculture as panacea to the herdsmen attacks on arable crop farmers in Nigeria.”
A communique issued by the Chairman of the Correspondent’s Chapel, Mrs. Nefishetu Yakubu and its Secretary, Osaigbovo Igbinabaro, acknowledged the long standing relationship between farmers and their Fulani herdsmen
They, however, wondered what warranted the recent morbid attacks by herdsmen on farmers across the states of the federation.
According to the stakeholders, these unprovoked attacks had brought about colossal losses to farmers across the states of the nation and require urgent solution.
The stakeholders said since Agriculture remained a veritable tool for sustainable growth and development, appropriate steps should immediately be taken to address the worrisome phenomenon.
While the stakeholders urged all concerned to evolve ways to ensure peace existed between herdsmen and farmers, they advocated for cattle ranching with modern techniques for ease of operation rather than the proposed cattle colony.
“Rather than cattle colonies, cattle ranching, is the obvious way to go if the crisis is to be sustain ably addressed.
“If this is done with the use of fodder to feed the cows, the need for normadism will not only be resolved by the additional benefit of creating a crop of farmers for grass production, it will be a win-win solution to all stakeholders.
“That governments at all levels should provide appropriate infrastructural support to livestock farmers and arable crop farmers as incentives to practice commercial large scale/sustainable agriculture.
“That as a matter of urgency, the federal government through live stock development centres in each of the 36 states and the FCT which should be a model of excellence instead of the cattle colony, grazing reserve or estate currently being proposed by the minister of Agriculture.
“That there is urgent need to develop a robust policy or law to guide cattle rearing in Edo state . Such law/policies should address the concerns of all stakeholders, with provision been made for appropriate/compensation of victims of breaches of destruction of destructive cattle grazing,’” the communique said.