The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has called on the Yobe Government to protect grazing reserves and cattle routes in the state against encroachment by farmers.
The Yobe MACBAN Chairman, Alhaji Garba Mirwa, made the call in Damaturu on Friday in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
He said that the demarcation of cattle routes and grazing reserves by the state government had contributed to the peaceful coexistence of farmers and pastoralists in the state.
“Generally speaking, there is peaceful coexistence between farmers and herdsmen in the state but we have received complaints of farmers trespassing into some demarcated cattle routes, which need attention.
“Some farmers have cultivated crops on the cattle routes in Nguru, Machina, Karasuwa and Fika Local Government Areas this season; making movements very difficult for the animals in the affected areas,’’ he said.
Mirwa solicited the establishment of committees at the local government level to check cases of encroachment on cattle routes across the 17 local government areas.
“The committees should comprise officials from the ministry of agriculture or relevant agencies, local government officials, leaders of farming and grazing communities as well as security agencies,’’ he said.
He said that the committees should take advantage of the current dry season to retrace the cattle routes where there were complaints, while sensitising and warning the people against trespass.
“This should be done early enough and long before the commencement of the next farming season,’’ he said.
Dr Mustapha Gaidam, Manager, Yobe Pilot Livestock Development Programme, in a separate interview with NAN, said that the state government had demarcated 1,560 kilometres of cattle routes from 2007 to date.
“The state government has also constructed water facilities on the cattle routes to curb encroachment into farmlands in search of water.
“Government has, within the same period of time, vaccinated over six million herds of cattle, goats, sheep and dogs against trans-boundary diseases and rabies,’’ he said.
Besides, Gaidam said that the state government had donated 5,000 hectares of land to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture for the development of grazing reserves in the state.
“The Yobe Government has donated 2,500 hectares of land at Jakusko/Nazari in Jakusko Local Government Area and another 2,500 hectares at Gumsa in Nguru for the development of grazing reserves,’’ he said.