Federal Government says it has mapped out 30 grazing reserves for implementation of the National Livestock Transformation Plan, NLTP, as a lasting solution to the crisis. The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Agriculture, Dr. Andrew Kwasari, made this known while addressing journalists on the move by government to solve the protracted conflict over competition for land, water and pasture by herders and farmers.
According to Kwasari, the NLTP is cardinal under the Green Initiative project, because it is a sure way to permanently settle the lingering crisis. He said: “The National Livestock Transformation Plan, NLTP, is a sure way in solving permanently the issue of the farmer-herder conflict; and mark my words, real farmers and real herders that are in crisis today is triggered for resources of land, water and pasture. “The 19 Northern States have grazing reserves. So far we have mapped out over 30 grazing reserves and on paper we have over 400 grazing reserves. So the northern governors have to be committed to working with the federal government, federal ministry of agriculture and rural development, supervision with the NEC, to make sure that wherever those grazing reserves are found that we are able to convert them into lush green models specifically for pastoralists so they will not migrate anymore.
The land is there, we don’t need to look for land anywhere. “The traditional rulers we consulted, like the Gbom-Gbom Jos, clearly advised, and said the low hanging fruit for federal and state governments is that we make sure we settle pastoralists in gazette grazing reserves. “This takes away any notion of land grabbing or taking land from communities and giving to pastoralists because we are in volatile situation, hate speech and all of that.”
He further said that Nigerians need to understand and embrace the NLTP by following modalities of the plan. “If we are going to achieve this, first of all Nigerians have to follow the signs that is clear to the NLTP, methodology of NLTP as clearly pointed in the NLTP, and every state that adopts NLTP is to its own reality; it is not conscription but if they do it this way it will modernise livestock production, crop production, remove conflict, create dialogue, and create cohesion in communities”, he pointed.
The Special Assistant also explained that, “it is one of the targets we are working on here in the National Livestock Transformation Plan, and we know that working at the National Economic Council; the Governors working with technical experts crafted this policy. “I have been secretary to that committee and I have been to all the States to collect data and meet to with the stakeholders, I understand that if we implement the NLTP, truly as it was designed over the next 10 years, we will handle the issue of genuine farmer-herder crisis completely because, NLTP is crafted to offer opportunity on how livestock production is done and also how farm cropping is done. “The NLTP starts by training and arm-holding the pastoralists in the northern livestock production system, teaching them how to grow the pasture, settling them in a systematic way and environmentally friendly pattern. Our pastoralists are willing to learn.” He (Kwasari) also expressed optimism that with the collaboration between the Federal and State Governments following the recent announcement by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammad Nanono on take of the NLTP there will be solution to the crisis. “I hope with the move being made by both state and federal governments, particularly by the recent announcement made by the Minister of Agriculture. The NLTP will take off fully so that we can demonstrate that there is a new way to finding a solution between the pastoralists and farmers in the NLTP”, he said. He however, said the NLTP is not designed to tackle issues of banditry, insurgency, kidnapping and other criminal activities. “On kidnapping and banditry, I don’t think NLTP is the answer because there is sheer criminality in that aspect, and I am sure that the security agencies are working on that. “But the conflict between real herders and farmers over competition on land, water and pasture can be resolved and that will help livestock production according to global best practices”, he stated.