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Sunday, 21 January 2018

Establish cattle ranches not colonies, experts advise FG

Establish cattle ranches not colonies, experts advise FG

Experts and practitioners in the agricultural sector have advised the Federal Government to stop pushing for cattle colonies and instead, establish cattle ranches as a solution to the raging farmers/ herdsmen clashes in the country.

Speaking in separate interviews with our correspondent, the experts noted that ranches were the modern methods of rearing and growing livestock making them healthier, more hygienic and more productive.

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The President, Federation of Agricultural Associations of Nigeria, Dr. Victor Iyama, said that walking cattle all the way from the North through various states would not make the cattle as healthy as they would have been if they were kept in a ranch, well-nurtured and fed.

He said, “Ranching is the way to go. Nothing beats ranching which is the modern way of doing things. In Australia, they rear cows in ranches and these cows produce more and better quality milk and meat.

“Government should build ranches and hire them out to people who are interested in using them. After walking the animals for 1,000 kilometres, one cannot expect them to be very productive.

“There are many modern technologies of animal husbandry that we can adopt and move away from the archaic ways of doing things.”

Expressing a similar opinion, the President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Babatunde Ruwase, said that it would be better to build ranches for cattle than to seek colonies for them.

He said, “The modern thing to do is to have ranches. It is better than when the cows are made to walk from Sokoto or other parts of the North to Lagos. They cannot be as healthy as when they are somewhere and being fed. Ranching is the way.

“The herdsmen are in business. The issue requires a business approach. It should be seen as a challenge that is being faced in the course of running a business.”

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The Chairman, Agric Trade Group, who is also a council member of the Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Tijani Musa, said although the herdsmen crisis stemmed from farmers encroaching on the cattle routes, it would be a good idea to operate ranches for the animals in the country.

He said, “If we can establish ranches and provide them with all the basic facilities and infrastructure, they need to make them function within the cattle ranches, this will be better. We need to modernise. It is very embarrassing when one enters cities like Abuja and Kaduna and sees cows along the expressways.

“So, it will make a lot of sense if we can confine them to ranches and possibly, we can establish many ranches and call them colonies so that they can enjoy some common services.”

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