Nigeria has lost over $14 billion yearly due to the frequent farmer-herder clashes, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said yesterday.
Osinbajo made the disclosure in Lagos, while declaring this year’s Livestock and Aquaculture Trade Fair open.
Represented by the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) Delivery Advisor at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, Efosa Onyezebe, the vice president, noted that it was disheartening that a country whose population was projected to rise to over 250 million by 2030, was suffering such a huge loss because of clashes between farmers and herdsmen.
According to Osinbajo, in order to tackle the challenge, the federal government initiated the NLTP to support and strengthen the development of market-driven ranches in the livestock ecosystem for improved productivity through breed (genetic) improvement and pasture production, in addition to efficient land and water productivity improvement.
The vice president explained that under the programme, about 22 states have so far sent letters of expression of interest, adding that 10 states have set up the state Livestock Transformation Office, just as four states have identified and mapped the gazetted grazing reserves in their domains and are ready for take-off.
He said some states have received funding for the development of the pilot ranches.
Also speaking, the Minister of Agriculture & Rural Development, Mahmood Abubakar, called for the development of the nation’s fishing industry.
Represented by Mrs. Omolara Oguntuyi, Abubakar noted that the nation has no business importing fish going by the nation’s abundant marine resources.
The minister said: “If you look at Nigeria’s capacity for producing fish for example, it is enormous, and truly we don’t have any business importing fish. Fish do not grow on sand but in water and the country is blessed with abundant amount of water. We have lakes, creeks, rivers and Atlantic Ocean all filled with different kinds of fishes.
“We also have diversity of fishes in our waters. So, what we should be doing is to take advantage of these natural resources which has been ignored for a very long time.
“A typical example is the abundant stock of shrimps in our water, drift fish and large lantern fish population that we can use to make our fish feed which is important to aquaculture production.”
According to him, “we have to develop our fishing industry and not be dependent on importation. God did not make a mistake when He gave us the Atlantic Ocean and those lakes we have, it is only a prodigal child that will have resources and will not use it and instead be looking at what others have.”
“What we can do now is to promote what we have within our own country and a lot can be achieved in the livestock and aquaculture production. We have cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry, rabbit, snail, tilapia and catfish among others that we can promote.
“A lot of farm estates can be promoted, cage culture can be constructed within some of our rivers so that we can produce a lot of our own animals and fish needs.
“The only thing that is unacceptable is for Nigeria to be totally dependent on other countries for animal protein source when we have land and water we are not making use of.”
“The time is ripe for us to revolutionise agriculture in Nigeria especially in the livestock and aquaculture development and the youths should be the bedrock of our drive to transform this sector in agriculture,” he added.