The Federal Government has been urged by the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association(MACBAN) to create a livestock ministry that will cater to the needs of animal rearers in the country.
MACBAN’s National Secretary, Alhaji Othman Ngelzarma made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) on Thursday.
He stressed that a department under the ministry of Agriculture will not do enough to address the issues faced in the sub-sector. attle rustling, farmer-herder conflicts, kidnapping, banditry, and neglect, especially with regard to demarcation of grazing reserves, are some of the problems faced in the sub-sector, according to Othman.
He further highlighted that such a ministry already exists in other West African countries.
“We are calling on the Federal Government to create a ministry that will squarely address all issues relating to the livestock sub-sector of the economy. This is because the magnitude of the problem or crisis faced by the livestock sector is more than the one that can be handled by a mere department under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.”
“Some of the enormous problems are farmer-herder conflicts, cattle rustling, neglect on the part of the government regarding grazing reserve, banditry, kidnapping, shrinking of Lake Chad that is housing millions of pastoralists and so many other natural and man-made factors.”
“We want an agency or ministry that can squarely handle this issue and resolve it permanently being the practice in most West African countries; they all have Federal Ministry of Livestock because of the essence they attach to livestock production.”
“It is essential for the government to consider the creation of the Ministry of Livestock independent from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture. Let’s have a livestock ministry so that this entire problem can be addressed by an organisation solely charged with such responsibility,” Ngelzarma stressed.
He further said that after Petroleum, the livestock industry is next in terms of revenue generated.
“If it can be developed in a better way considering the value chain related to the sector it will create a lot of employment, bring a lot of wealth to the country and to individuals. But if a particular ministry can be established and assigned to handle squarely any problem relating to livestock, it gets the deserved attention it requires.”