Borno partners Sudan on wheat, gum Arabic production
The Borno State Government is to partner Sudan in the production of wheat, gum Arabic and livestock for exports to earn foreign exchange.
The crops and livestock are to be produced and raised in the Lake Chad Basin and central senatorial district of the state.
While leading the Sudanese Experts in Agriculture and Livestock (SEAL)) at recently in Maiduguri, Dr. Osman Umar El-Fal, disclosed that the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) had earmarked $500,000 (N2.5 billion) for the execution of projects in the agricultural and livestock sectors of the economy.
He added that Borno and Sudan share about the same ‘climatic and soil conditions’ for the production of wheat and Gum Arabic, as they have comparative advantages over other African countries.
“Our targets in the partnership are in the agricultural and livestock sectors,” he said, stating that the production of foreign exchange earning crops could be extended to rural areas to restore people’s livelihoods destroyed during the 12-year insurgency.
Responding, chairman of the Borno State Partnership Committee and former Minister of State for Agriculture, Bukar Tijjani, disclosed that the state was the epicentre of terrorism in the Northeast. Hence, it had been devastating since July 2009.
According to him, many farmers and herders lost their means of livelihood and took refuge in various Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps across the state.
“As peace gradually returns to the state, all hands must be on deck over stabilisation and recovery process to restore livelihoods for economic growth and development.
He noted that as Sudan is one of the leading producers of Gum Arabic and wheat, and the partnership would be adopted to implement the 25-year Development Plan and 10-year transformation strategy of Governor Babagana Zulum.
“Our partnership with Sudan could drive the stabilisation process to boost recovery efforts in the agricultural and livestock sectors,” he said, adding that the N2.5 billion bank grants are for the cross breeding of over a million cattle in 27 councils.
MEANWHILE, the state government is to establish Rural Urban Grazing Areas (RUGAs) for herders displaced by Boko Haram insurgency in the state.
The RUGA centres are sited in three senatorial districts at Mafa, Gubio and Rumirgo in Askira/Uba Local Government Area.
The establishment of the grazing areas is supported by the Federal Government intervention of N4 billion in the state’s 25-year development plan.
Projects Coordinator to the Governor, Tijjani Mohammed, disclosed this while briefing the Sudanese Economic Team leader to Borno, Dr. Osman El-Fal, at the Mafa RUGA centre on Dikwa Road.
“This project is built on 250 hectares of land, comprising various infrastructural facilities, including 1.5-km perimeter fencing,” he said.