The National Economic Council (NEC) on Thursday endorsed the disbursement of N100 billion by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the establishment of mini ranches nationwide.
Governor Gabriel Suswam of Benue, who said this when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the monthly NEC meeting presided over by Vice-President Namadi Sambo, said the ranches would boost meat and dairy production.
He said the provision of the N100billion by CBN was part of the recommendations deliberated upon and later endorsed by NEC during the meeting.
“The federal, state, and local governments should encourage ranches; it’s not something anybody should impose on any state.
“One of the recommendations was that the CBN should provide some seed funding. CBN had done that for agriculture before where it partnered states; they gave the states N1billion each,” he explained.
He added: “We are asking that the CBN should also provide some seed funding for this where some pilot schemes will be started especially in the far North where already some infrastructure, such as dams, exist.’’
The Governor said the council agreed that all grazing reserves/cattle routes already gazetted and encroached upon should be recovered and improved upon taking into consideration the present day realities.
According to him, the mini ranches will promote modern technologies of livestock production like the ‘Halal certified’.
He said the council urged all tiers of government to embark on sensitisation/education workshops for herdsmen and farmers to build trust and confidence amongst the parties.
“Council discussed and amended some of the recommendations and appointed the Minister of National Planning, Minister of Agriculture and Benue Governor to come up with the final framework for approval and implementation,’’ he said.
Suswam said that government would begin the documentation of foreign herdsmen as part of deliberate moves to check incessant farmers/herdsmen clashes across the country.
The Minister of National Planning, Dr Abubakar Suleiman, who also addressed the correspondents, said the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim, presented the Draft Report of the Presidential Technical Committee on Land Reform (PTCLR) to the council.
The technical committee was reconstituted by President Goodluck Jonathan in November 2011.
He said the council asked members to study the report and prepare inputs that would be presented at the next meeting. (NAN)