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Why Ruga settlements for herdsmen will help-agriculturist

Mr. Shittu Yahaya, a Kwara- based agriculturist and farmer has said that the proposed ruga settlements for herdsmen will greatly reduce the incessant crisis between farmers and cattle rearers.

He told our agric editor on phone yesterday that contrary to the sentiments being displayed by some stakeholders, the proposal, if genuinely implemented, would go a long way to solve some of the crises.

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Daily Trust reports that the 10- year National Livestock Transformation Plan (2018-2027), which was an initiative of the the National Economic Council (NEC) had approved the establishment of ruga settlements for herdsmen to curb their frequent movements around the country.

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The Federal Government Tuesday said it has commenced the establishment of such settlements in 12 pilot states nationwide.

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Alh. Mohammadu Umar, the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

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.

Our Agric Editor, who has been monitoring the implementation of the plan, observed that some stakeholders have been reluctant to wholeheartedly embrace the establishment of such settlements, claiming it will amount to ceasing their lands for the herdsmen.

This is the belief that many others, including Mr Shitu Yahaya has dismissed as non- issue.

‘’Since the people against such settlements has no constitutional rights to stop the herdsmen from doing their business in any part of the country, then they ought to accept ways of reducing the crisis instead of fanning sentiments,’’ he said.

He warned that for the crises between the herdsmen/farmers to be adequately addressed, stakeholders must look at the problems with patriotism, adding that the fears being entertained by some people should be looked into by the federal government in order to re-assure them of transparency in the implementation.

How the settlements will look like

According to the Permanent Secretary, the required facilities for a basic life and treatment of cattle will be provided at the settlement to enhance productivity.

He explained that various spots would be established for the pastoralists to be able to milk their cows, adding that dispensaries would be established to prevent the misuse of antibiotics.

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

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.

 

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