The Federal Government and dairy giant, L&Z Integrated Dairy Farm, have resolved to tackle Fulani herdsmen and farmers clash through a Memorandum of Understanding, Mou, signing.
The signing which took place at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Headquarters in Abuja had the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, signed on behalf of the Federal Government, while Chairman, L&Z Integrated Dairy Farm, Keith Richards, signed for his company.
Ogbeh said the government was willing to partner with the dairy giant to boost the Nigerian dairy industry as other stakeholders are doing, and also serve as effort in resolving the conflict between herdsmen and farmers.
The Minister who expressed optimism said the MoU was at the right time as clashes between farmers and herdsmen was not healthy for the sector to thrive as expected but with the MoU the 45 million hectares of empty land will occupy be properly used.
He said: “The conflict between herdsmen and farmers is very undesirable for a country that has 45million hectares of empty land and then watching cattle herdsmen wandering around and getting to farms.
“But because we have neglected this sector for too long we have the crisis with us and the best way of solving it is retracing our steps and doing what L&Z has done and what they are willing to do.
“A day should come when herdsmen would no longer move around, their children have right to education, and living in the bush is not the best way and enduring all kinds of things is not the best.”
However, he (Ogbeh) lamented the high importation of powdered milk and other dairy products running into millions of Dollars, which has negatively impacted on the economy over the years, and ironically 37 per cent of children remain malnourished.
Meanwhile, he maintained that government’s resolve on the school feeding programme remains a pint of milk for each child on daily basis during school hours, and that the MoU will boost this plan for the children because it will increase their intelligence and academic performance.
While explaining about the contents of the MoU, Managing Director, L&Z, Mohammed Abubakar, said that the Fulani Herdsmen are important in the dairy industry and deserves attention and with the signing of the MoU their living condition will greatly improve, because it will reduce their roaming and migration.
He said: “Nigeria is no doubt feeling the impact of the roaming about of the herdsmen and the contribution they can make to the economy when this is stopped.”
According to him the MoU would facilitate formation of herdsmen co-operatives, which will help them and add value to their business and enhance collection of raw milk for production.
He also added that herdsmen could be trained on best practices in livestock production with quality service delivery for improved dairy production in no distant time.