Herdsmen and farmers’ clashes will be worse next year unless ranches are created, the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, has said.
Ogbeh was briefing State House reporters on Monday after a meeting of the National Food Security Council.
The minister also noted that the Federal Government could not afford to subsidise cattle rearing as done in Europe.
Asked what strategy the government was putting in place to end the farmers/herdsmen clashes, he said: “We’ve to move the cattle to the good old grazing reserves and we just have to create environment for them, clusters of ranches where they have water, grass and security against rustlers. For nearly 40 years, we didn’t do much about cattle, we also forgot that cattle contribute 6% to GDP.
“The cheapest way of rearing cattle is by roaming around with them as you see now. If you go into a ranch, it’s not cheap and government cannot subsidise cattle rearing like they do in Europe, where they subsidise every cow with €6 which is about N2,400. We cannot afford that.
“So, the thing is to create those ranches and the herdsmen are prepared to pay tax to support the programme. If we don’t do it, next year will be worse than this year I assure you.”