The Nigeria Farmers Group and Cooperative Society (NFGCS) says plans have reached advanced stage to train herders on greenhouse to manage its 10,000 capacity ranch currently under construction at Gaate, Nasarawa State.
Tedheke Retson, the National Coordinator who made this known in Abuja, said the herders, which were already working on the farm would be trained on how to grow grass to feed their cattle without using soil.
“We are going to train the Fulani who are in charge of livestock on the farm on how to use hydroponics (greenhouse). What that means is planting crops or grass without sand to feed the cattle.
“This is to reduce the number of times the animals will be going out to graze in open land.
“Of the 10,000 cattle that will be put in the ranch, 5,000 will be cross bred specifically for dairy purposes and the remaining 5,000 will be for fattening for onward sale in the Southern part of Nigeria.
“It will interest you to know that the south alone consumes in excess of 100,000 cattle a day, a market that is insatiable.”
The coordinator further pointed out that training would not be limited to herders, adding that the group was already discussing with the Nasarawa State Government as well as the Federal Government to train youths across the country.
He said one of the misconceptions that Nigeria “will not work no matter the effort” was unfounded, adding that the group had been able to disabuse the minds of Nigerians on such belief with the level of achievement so far.
“We have been able to sell that message to both the A.A Sule led administration in Nasarawa as well as the a Federal Government. The Vice President was here, we have met with the Minister of State for Agric as well as the Minister of Agric.
“The relationship we are trying to create is simple. Now we are beginning to fabricate some of the machineries we need to work in our rice mill, a mill that will be delivering two trailer loads of rice on a daily basis soon.
“The state government wants youths from the state to learn how to fabricate this, then we can have a conversation with the Federal Government and say let us turn every community into a rice producing community.
“Our plan is to build a research and training institute here on the farm so that as youths are brought in, we are teaching them the basic machineries that are needed to make agriculture simple for rural Nigeria.
“We are looking at a situation where we dedicate part of our revenue as a country to rural agro development.”
He pointed out that one of the major focuses of the group was to establish a farm settlement with not only a complete value chain of farming, processing and marketing but one with every facility, including medical centre, school and a resort for vacation.