With a veiled consensus reached – across Nigeria’s northern and southern flanks – that open grazing of cattle was no longer sustainable, many states in the North are looking to convert grazing reserves in their areas into ranches.
Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State had confirmed receipt of N5billion out of the N6.25billion which President Buhari approved, in July, for the establishment of ranches in Katsina State.
Governor Mallam Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State Governor had suggested that with N140 billion as support funding, his government would convert identified grazing reserves in the state to ranches. He revealed that there are 14 grazing reserves in Kaduna State.
“We have taken a position as northern state governors and we are implementing that. And in my state, for instance, we are developing a huge ranch to centralize the herders. And that is the solution, a long-term solution. But can it be done overnight?” Governor el-Rufai had queried.
Related requests for federal support in the establishment of ranches have been made by Kwara and Niger states.
The Plateau State Government, which expressed unwillingness to ban open grazing, also signified interest in ranching.
Nasarawa State Government, confirmed that it has received funding for building of ranches in the state, and has already started converting all identified grazing reserves in the state to ranches, with the recent inauguration of the Awe Ranching Hub by President Buhari.
“The federal government has already given us our intervention fund and that is why we are working on the ranching hub in Awe. All our grazing reserves have been identified and they will all be utilized,” the commissioner for information of Nasarawa State said.
Taraba State said that it is willing to jump onto the ranching wagon, if the federal government reaches out to them.
“We already have a law prohibiting open grazing in the state and the establishment of ranches is an integral part of it. We shall therefore support any effort or support by the federal government to establish ranches in the state. We are already working on establishing ranches in some parts of the state,” Bala Dan Abu, Taraba governor’s special adviser on media and public affairs noted.
Kano State is already ahead on ranches, having already constructed about 35 modern houses at Dansoshiya village in Kiru LGA and settled the Fulani herdsmen.
“Kano State government is so much ready to accept the fund to convert the vast lands in the state to ranches. The government has written to the federal government for funds and we have good plans for the herdsmen. We will do everything possible to make them comfortable,” Jibrilla Mohammed, chairman Kano State’s Ruga Settlement Programme, said.
Sokoto State has also initiated a regional cattle ranching project, which will cost an estimated N3 billion on a 10-hectare expanse of land and will cater to more than 10,000 cattle.
The modern cattle ranch involves high milk-yielding cattle breeds from Brazil and high beef-yielding species from Argentina.
When crossbred with the Sokoto Gudali cattle breed, the species will yield higher milk and beef.