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Minister moves to revive controversial livestock plan

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Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar,

Citing its overall impact on insecurity in the country, the new Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mahmood Abubakar, has promised to prioritise the controversial National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP).

He made the pledge yesterday while taking over from his predecessor, Muhammad Sabo Nanono, at a brief ceremony witnessed by Minister of State, Mustapha Baba Shehuri and heads of parastatals.

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The contentious plan, a pet project of the President Muhammad Buhari administration, had suffered setbacks due to views by many Nigerians that the policy is geared at acquiring territories for Fulani herders nationwide.

But the minister insisted: “ The NLTP will be a priority due to its overall impact on insecurity in the country.”

He added that the ministry would galvanise programmes to make agriculture the mainstay of the economy in tune with the Medium Term National Development Plan and the President’s vision of uplifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.

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Besides, the minister said research and extension services would be strengthened for best practices to translate into concrete deliverables in the agriculture and livestock value chains.

Abubakar said: “We will start to promote synergies among the agencies and departments of the ministry. Agencies must collaborate and work with relevant stakeholders to achieve our mandate.”

He stressed the need for Nigerians to eat locally-produced food as a way of supporting indigenous farmers.

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“Food security is everything and it can make a whole lot of difference. There is no reason we cannot do this. We have the resources and all that is needed to make Nigeria number one producer and exporter of food in the world,” the minister stated.

He pleaded with all to partner with the ministry to achieve Buhari’s dream of making Nigeria food-sufficient.

Earlier, Nanono said his successor is to address some major challenges in the sector, including pasture for livestock and fertilisers.

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