HomeNewsPresident Tinubu plans ministry of livestock development

President Tinubu plans ministry of livestock development

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President Bola Tinubu has proposed the creation of a new Ministry of Livestock Development, aimed at addressing the longstanding conflicts between herders and farmers in Nigeria.

This announcement came during the inauguration of the Presidential Committee on Implementation of Livestock Reforms at the State House in Abuja. Tinubu expressed his commitment to implementing recommendations on ranching and other livestock reforms to boost the economy.

The President, who chairs the committee, appointed Professor Mahmud Jega, a former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, as co-chairman. “This presents a unique opportunity to delineate and establish a separate ministry called the Ministry of Livestock Development. We will develop the economy and give people the opportunity to excel,” Tinubu stated.

READ ALSO: 85 killed, thousands displaced in Plateau herders, farmers clash

The proposal follows months of deliberation since the National Livestock Reforms Committee first recommended the creation of a “Ministry of Livestock Resources” to Tinubu last September. Former Kano State Governor and All Progressives Congress Chairman, Abdullahi Ganduje, who led the delegation, highlighted that the new ministry was one of 21 recommendations to enhance the Federal Government’s response to the conflict.

According to reports from last August, Nigeria’s farmer-herder crisis has been more pronounced in the North-Central zone, lingering for over two decades and claiming over 60,000 lives since 2001. Desert encroachment in the north has forced nomadic herders to move southward, seeking greener pastures for cattle, leading to a struggle for resources with farmers.

Tinubu emphasized that implementing livestock reforms would address obstacles to agricultural productivity and open up new opportunities benefiting farmers, herders, processors, and distributors. He noted, “We have seen the solution and opportunity with this adversity that has plagued us over the years, and I believe the prosperity is here in your hands.”

The President also highlighted the importance of the dairy industry in contributing to nutrition and food security and stressed the need for efficient cold-chain logistics to maintain the quality of perishable goods and reduce food waste.

Reactions to the initiative

The initiative has garnered support from various stakeholders. The Northern Elders Forum urged the Federal and State Governments to identify suitable lands for grazing reserves and cattle routes. Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, the Forum’s Director of Publicity and Advocacy, described the proposal as a “welcome development” and called for a National Policy on Grazing and Livestock Development. Suleiman also suggested creating a National Pastoralist Commission to address matters affecting citizens whose livelihoods depend on livestock rearing.

The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) expressed excitement over the proposed ministry. MACBAN President Othman Ngelzarma stated, “MACBAN expresses its deepest appreciation to the Federal Government for creating a ministry of livestock to unlock the trillion-naira livestock economy and create qualitative and productive jobs across the value chain to improve the Nigerian economy.”

However, the Middle Belt Forum expressed reservations, arguing that creating the ministry alone would not resolve the crisis. MBF President Bitrus Pogu emphasized the need for government action against criminal elements responsible for violence against farmers and suggested that ranching would be a better solution to the ongoing conflicts.

The All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) welcomed the announcement but called for quick implementation. AFAN President Kabir Ibrahim noted that while the proposal is a positive development, it is essential to operationalize the new ministry with a clear budget and legislative powers.

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