Ogbeh: Ranches will soon be established but FG won’t take lands forcefully

The federal government says all is set for the establishment of ranches across the country, although land will not be forcefully taken from those opposed to the project.

Audu Ogbeh, minister of agriculture, said this on Wednesday while briefing reporters at the end of the federal executive council meeting.

Ogbeh said the frequent clashes between farmers and herdsmen had taken a worrisome dimension, saying the development is capable of scaring away foreign investors.

“Many more farmers are coming in, including foreign investors, and they stand the risk of being subjected to this kind of humiliation. So, we are talking with ministry of interior that we have to put measures in place,” he said.

“In other countries of the world you may have noticed that people live on their farms; you hardly see a farmer who lives in the city. He lives on the farm with his family, you cannot do that here. They will come and take you, your wife and children in the name of kidnapping, we have to stop it and we have to use the legitimate instrument of state to do it legitimately because the farmer has no right to buy an AK47 to protect himself.

“Eventually and in the next one year, I hope we shall move‎ most of our cows into ranches and reserves, depending on different terminologies people want to hear. Some people don’t want to hear about grazing reserves and government has no intention of forcing anyone to surrender one inch of land.

“Some states are willing; we shall develop these things in their domain; cows will move in there; they will be given best grass for cattle. Most of these grasses contain 18 per cent protein and amino acid, so the cows can feed well, have the good water to drink and give us the best milk and beef.”

Ogbeh said the government would soon deploy the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to protect farms and agricultural investments across the country.

He also disclosed that the current administration has launched a new ‎agriculture roadmap called ‘The Green Alternative’, which he said would not only boost food production in the country.

“The Green Alternative intends to, among other things, increase agriculture’s share of the GDP to 23 per cent, ‎share of labour force to 70 per cent, increase agricultural activity mix by 85 per cent in crop production with a 15 per cent increase in livestock and other non-crop,” he said.

“It also seeks to enhance the country’s foreign exchange earning capacity through agricultural exports with anintent to grow the agriculture’s share of Non-Oil Exports earnings to 75 per cent. It will also amongst other things facilitate the government’s capacity to meet its obligations to Nigerians on food security, safety and quality nutrition, increase agriculture’s share of the budget by 2.0 per cent.‎

“Over the next three years, the Green Alternative provides will serve as an agriculture roadmap to guide government’s policies with a view to making agriculture the next alternative revenue earner.

“This will reverse the trend of heavy reliance on imported rice, wheat, eggs, and other foodstuff into the country, with the resultant pressure on scarce foreign exchange.”


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