The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh has called on the major agricultural players in the ECOWAS sub-region to collaborate with member states to find solutions to the frequent clash between herdsmen and farmers which have claimed several lives and properties destroyed.
Ogbeh disclosed this while receiving some farmer groups in the West Africa Sub-region led by the honorary President of Roppa West African Farmers Network, Mamadou Cissokho.
He told the delegation that the Nigerian government will want to meet with them subsequently to deliberate on how to find solutions to the lingering crisis between herdsmen and farmers in the region.
According to him “we will meet again soon to deal with this issue of cattle rearing, we need to have a regional plan because we can solve the problem.
“The cows don’t need to roam so that we can eliminate all the crisis and have a better breed of cows. The cows when they walk around do not yield enough milk and good meat and farmers and getting into crisis with pastoralists.
“We can solve the problem in West Africa because sometimes, the cows come as far away as Mali, Burkina Faso, coming down here, moving back and get attacked, some of them now have weapons.
“We will be letting you know early next year of the date when we will have another discussion and how we can work together because through irrigation and pasture development, we can bring all these to a halt and then we will increase our yield of milk and quality of meat.”
The minister also disclosed that he has been discussing with the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina on the possibility of having a railway line from Dakar to Lagos to ease the movement of agricultural commodities.
“I discussed with the president of AfDB of the possibility of building a railway line from Dakar to Lagos, I know they are thinking of a road, but I know the road will be more difficult to maintain than the railway line,” he added.
Earlier in his address, the leader of the delegation, Mamadou Cissokho, told the Minister that they want Nigeria to be actively involved in in the regional discussion on agriculture and food security.
They delegation also pledged to work closely with the Nigerian government to curb the crisis between herdsmen and farmers in the sub-region.