The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says the Bobi grazing reserve in Niger State North-Central part of the country will serve as pilot scheme for the implementation of the government’s livestock farming initiative.
It says to this end, the process of massive infrastructural development and upgrade of existing facilities of the 30,000 Bobi grazing reserve in
Mariga local government area of as a flagship for the project in collaboration with the host state government and private partners, will soon commence.
The special adviser on development finance to the apex bank, Anthony Ifeachukwu, stated this during a field tour of the reserve alongside Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State.
He said the bank will encourage state governments and other interested people in the country to fully participate in the grazing reserve projects with a view to encouraging and developing pastoralist culture, and modern diary production.
Ifeachukwu who said Niger State in North-Central Nigeria is the pioneer state in the Country to commence the partnership with the Apex Bank for grazing reserve development has shown interest in the project by equally providing an enabling environment for the project.
He said about seven states including Adamawa, Borno, Yobe , Kogi, Plateau , Kaduna and Abuja have also indicated interest in partnering with for grazing reserve development.
According to him, the pilot project if completed will provide about 10,000 jobs apart from contributing to food security.
“Nigeria spent about $1.5 billion per anum on just milk importation alone, which the country could also compete given the enabling environment and support.
“We don’t have to import what we can produce locally at home, because by continuing importation we are not allowing our people to maximize their potentials,” he pointed out.
While appreciating the bank for its intervention in the grazing reserve project in the Niger state, Governor Sani Bello said the state is presently making tireless effort in creating harmonious relationship between the herders and farmers in the state.
“As state government we are going to provide enabling environment for private sector participation and also to protect the local herdsmen business to be integrated in the scheme,” he noted.
The Governor promised to expedite action towards promoting pasture development for pastoralists at the grazing reserve, adding that: “The settlement of pastoralists at the grazing reserve would turn nomadic pastoralists into mixed farmers who will take up crop farming to supplement livestock farming.”
He however advised herdsmen to safeguard the facilities that will be provided by governments from vandals and maintain the natural ecosystem in order to achieve the set goals and objectives.
Haliru Mohammed Bande a herder in the settlement commended both the state and federal government for working tirelessly to ending the farmers, headers conflict, while promising to utilize the reserve and end migration.