Nigerian government sets up farm settlements for herdsmen

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The Nigerian government said that it has began establishing “Ruga Settlements” for herdsmen in 12 pilot states nationwide.

Mr. Mohammadu Umar, the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, gave the information in Abuja on the sidelines of a workshop on Regional Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and associated legislation in West Africa.

He said that the farm settlements when fully established would address the incessant clashes between Fulani cattle rearers and farmers.

Umar explained that the pilot programme had already commenced on a 31,000-hectare in Kotongora, Niger state.

According to him, the required facilities for a basic life and treatment of cattle are being provided to enhance productivity.

He said that the government would replicate the programme in selected states as work “is ongoing in the 12 pilot states”.

According to him, six settlements will be established in each of the pilot states.

Umar, who added that the centres would be expanded and adequately equipped assured the beneficiaries that government would do all that is necessary to enlighten the herdsmen on how the use of ranches could make cattle rearing more profitable.

The permanent secretary explained that various spots would be established for the pastoralists to be able to milk their cows.

He also said that dispensaries would be established to prevent the misuse of antibiotics.

The “Ruga Settlement” idea was an initiative of the National Economic Council (NEC) presented under the National Livestock Transformation Plan (2018-2027).

It was an initiative to stop the age-long herders-farmers crisis and to massively develop the livestock industry.

The initiative seeks to promote ranching as the way forward for cattle rearing in the country.

According to the permanent secretary, nomadic livestock production in Nigeria is facing major challenges and is at crossroads due to declining availability of pasture, overgrazing, and expanding fatal conflicts between pastoralists and crop farmers.

Mr. Suffyan Koroma, Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) Country Representative, said the workshop aims at preparing the organisation’s representatives, respective countries and regions to work out ways of tackling the impending dangers of AMR and AMU.

The representative said that FAO had outlined global action plans for 2016-2020.

Participants for the three-day workshop were drawn from WHO, UNICEF, Animal Health Organisation (OIE) EU, Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia, Kenya and Sierra Leone.