Over 200,000 hectares of land across 15 grazing reserves are being prepared by the Federal Government under the National Livestock Transformation Plan.
It was also gathered that 22 states had so far shown interest in the livestock programme that aims to address the incessant clashes between herders and farmers across the country.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Agriculture, Andrew Kwasari, who coordinates the NLTP, told Sunday PUNCH on Friday that some participating states had already commenced training for the implementation of the scheme.
On February 13, 2021, the Federal Government announced that it had commenced the implementation of the NLTP and also disclosed that 20 governors had shown interest in the programme at the time.
Kwasari, who announced the commencement of the programme, had also stated that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), secured a €400,000 grant from The Netherlands for the initiative.
The presidential aide said, “We have states in tiers one, two, three and four, depending on the ones that are ahead of others. But I can’t give you the states that are in each particular tier for I’m on vacation now. I don’t have those details here with me now, until I return to Abuja. I don’t have access to those data now.”
When probed further on the number of states that had commenced or were willing to start the livestock programme, Kwasara said 22 states had written to show interest in the livestock transformation plan.
He said, “There are 22 states that have written to us and two governors have transmitted letters to their various state livestock transformation officials as regards the project.
“Out of these 22 states, many have gone into training and the opening of offices. Some have even located over 15 grazing reserves, which have been surveyed by certain governors totalling over 200,000 hectares of land.”
The NLTP, adopted by the National Executive Council in January 2019, was designed as a partnership with interested state governments to provide land for livestock farmers.
Under the scheme, livestock farmers will have access to land for ranching, as the land will be made available to farmers at affordable rates.
The scheme, however, was greeted with diverse reactions, as some states declared that they had no land to give out for the livestock programme.
But in February, the Communications Lead, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development-Project for Agricultural Development Planning, Sandra Affun, said the government would implement the pilot projects in four states, namely Nasarawa, Adamawa, Plateau and Gombe.
Kwasari had also stated that the kick-off meeting for the implementation of the pilot phase of the livestock plan was held in Nasarawa State in the Office of the Deputy Governor.
He said the pilot phase of the NLTP in Nasarawa was being implemented at the Awe Grazing Reserves in the state.
“The pilot (programme) will serve as a proof of concept for the livestock subsector transformation process,” Kwasari stated.
On state governors interested in the programme, the FMARD-PACE had outlined them to include the governors of Kaduna, Benue, Taraba, Adamawa, Plateau, Zamfara, Kano, Ondo, Katsina, Bauchi, Yobe, Borno, Gombe, Nasarawa, Niger, Sokoto, Ekiti, Kogi, Ebonyi and Kwara.