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Experts fault northern governors’ adoption of livestock transformation plan


Simon Lalong of Plateau

Oyedepo, others canvass improved production techniques for food security
Nasarawa approves N88 million to boost agriculture

Agricultural experts have faulted adoption of the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) in place of Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) scheme by the Northern Governors Forum (NGF), insisting that NLTP could not tackle continuous clashes between farmers and herdsmen.

They accused Chairman of the forum, Solomon Lalong, of not consulting widely before making the pronouncement.Chief Executive Officer of NLTP, Ihechuckwu Chima, told journalists in Abuja yesterday that adoption of the NLTP was not enough to tackle regular herders, farmers’ clashes in the region.He said some states like Zamfara and Kano had already concluded strategies for the establishment of Ruga settlement for Fulani herdsmen, saying the adoption of NLTP might disrupt their plans.

He attributed the public outcry against Ruga policy to government’s bypassing of policy formulation processes, which includes consultations, negotiations, dialogue and implementation.Stressing the need for holistic approach in tackling security challenges in the North, Ihechuckwu said, “Nigerians want a permanent solution to the regular clashes between herders and farmers. RUGA has been in existence for many decades. It is easier to sell than NLTP because a lot of people don’t understand what the new plan is about.

“Food Work Africa already spent a lot of money to bring different stakeholders to Abuja to work towards tackling the security challenges through the forthcoming RUGA conference, so as to achieve permanent solution.”

But the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) supported the NLTP, maintaining that it was in line with their mandates.Besides, Presiding Bishop of Living Faith Church International, David Oyedepo, yesterday canvassed a paradigm shift in the nation’s quest to boost its employment opportunities from paid jobs to agricultural mechanisation.

Oyedepo, who stated this at the 20th International Conference and 40th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Nigerian Institution of Agricultural Engineers (NIAE) in Omu-Aran, Kwara State, said besides agriculture, no vocation or institution could accommodate the millions of unemployed Nigerians.

“This university has a vision to restore agrarian revolution in Africa and to restore the dignity of African man. We are endowed with fertile land but have over 400 million hungry graduates seeking job opportunities that do not exist.

“Agriculture is the cheapest way to be gainfully engaged. It can’t go into extinction because man must eat to live. There is no day that food will be irrelevant. It is, therefore, wise and safe now to tackle the impending poverty and hunger through mechanised farming.”

The event, with the theme, “Innovations and Technologies for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanisation and Livestock Transformation for Economic Growth,” drew participants from within and outside the country.

Keynote Speaker, Professor Michael Ngadi, said agricultural engineers played a key role in bringing food to man’s table. Also speaking, National President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Adekunle Mokuolu, said, “the immediate needs of man as it relates to food and fibre production could be met through the commitment of agricultural engineers.”

Meanwhile, Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule, has approved N88m as counterpart funding for the Value Chain Development Programme, an initiative of the Federal Government and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).Sule disclosed this during the hand over ceremony of agricultural equipment donated by the Japanese government in Azara, Awe Council Area of the state.


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