By Lawrence Olaoye
Adamawa, Plateau and Nasarawa have been picked as pilot states for the commencement of the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) by the National Economic Council (NEC) chaired by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.
The selected pilot states that have made land available for the project and will be funded by the federal government immediately they submit their evaluation plan for the establishment of ranches or livestock centres are Nasarawa and Plateau States.
Speaking with State House correspondents, after a closed door meeting with the Vice President at the Presidential Villa, Umahi, who is the chairman of the Sub-committee on NLTP, said it will resolve the farmers/herders crisis.
Umahi said that the meeting was in furtherance of the committee’s programmes towards implementation of the NLTP of NEC.
Recall that the NLTP sub-committee was setup by NEC to find a lasting solution to the incessant farmers/herders crises in the country.
According to him, “We have penciled down three states that we have evaluated: Adamawa, Plateau and Nassarawa. So, we are going ahead to ask them to submit their programmes and costing for implementation.
“Three states that have grazing reserves and we have spoken to people in the grazing reserves, the traditional rulers, the district heads and the population within that location and they are willing to go with the programme: the NLTP.”
“In this programme, you are going to have some farmers that are within the grazing reserves doing their farming and the herders also doing theirs. Of course there is going to be a demarcation.
“The emphasis still remains that it is the willing states. Even if you have grazing reserves like some states in the north and the state is not willing to key into it, it is not compulsory.
“The expectation is that we have clear mandates. One is that this programme is going to resolve to a very large extent the farmers-herders conflict.
“So, if we revive some of the grazing reserves, especially in the north, for willing states, we are going to see this conflict come down. Then, also a modern way of cow rearing for greater benefits. These are things we expect to see,” he added.
Asked on the impact of improved rice production on the economy of Ebonyi state, he said that the Anchor Borrowers programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria has helped in shooting up the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the state.
He said: “Our GDP is rising because we get help from the federal government, from CBN and the fertilizer programme. So, there is no doubt that our GDP is rising and the youth are finding work to do.”
On how to sustain the increase in local rice production in the country, he said that the programme of rice production in Nigeria “is quite a success.”
“Forget about people who are politicizing it. It is like you mount a road block and the criminals will turn around and engage people to start shouting that you are dehumanizing the people.
“There is food everywhere and I have used my state as example and my in-laws and brother from Nassarawa. There is no time that trucks that would ever come to buy rice in a local market or mills and exhausted all the rice.
“That’s an index that we have attained rice sufficiency in Nigeria. Forget about those who want to import rice and making all kinds of noise. The rice is there,” the governor added.
Umahi also assured that rice production in the state was sustainable saying, ”there is now profit in it and so where there is profit and our people are embracing modern way of agriculture and there is funding, then it is sustainable.”
The Committee is expected to brief the full house on Thursday when the NEC meeting will be holding at the State House.