…Designates June 28 as National Pasture Planting Day
The Federal Government has launched the National Pasture Development Programme (NAPDEP) to tackle the issue of conflict between farmers and herders and improve livestock productivity for enhanced economic development.
Speaking at the flag-off of the NAPDEP today (June 28, 2022) at Paikon Kore, Gwagwalada area council in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammed Abubakar, said Nigeria has been unable to achieve her annual production target of 1.6 billion litres of milk due to continuous movement of animals in search of pasture.
“The result of this continuous movement in search of pasture has adversely affected the animals’ attainment of their optimal productivity and consistently impaired our national capacity for self-sufficiency in livestock products and animal protein needs, especially our national target of 1.6 billion liters of milk per annum.
“It has eluded our national peace-building efforts through the incessant conflicts between pastoralists and crop farmers along their movement routes. These have also impaired improvement in the livelihood of the pastoral families in particular and neighboring crop farmers.
“The continuous, extensive system of production is not a viable option since the land area for grazing and feed availability are severely limiting factors in the high livestock-producing zones of Nigeria.
“It is, therefore, very necessary and top priority that all players in the industry focus on meeting the huge demand for pasture. This will give a great opportunity to unlock the potential of the livestock industry and the development of its rich value chains,” he said.
The minister announced that June 28 every year has been set aside by the government as the National Pasture Planting Day, adding that NAPDEP is one of many steps and interventions by the government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) to mitigate the conflict, improve the sustainability of food security, national economy and export of livestock products.
He noted that the initiative will serve as a panacea for reduction in conflict emanating from cattle movement, attainment of self-sufficiency in good quality pasture, forage production and the transition from extensive grazing to a well-planned, settled form of livestock production.
“As part of continuous efforts in promoting intentional pasture development in Nigeria, I have endorsed the proposal that this flag-off day becomes an annual National Pasture Planting Day; that is, 28th June every year, to encourage private and public sector investments in commercial pasture production.
“I urge all partners within the livestock industry, especially researchers, academia, sub-national governments, international development partners and the private sector to embrace this laudable programme by actively participating in the value chain for sustainable and improved ruminant animal production in Nigeria.”
In his address, the director-general of the National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC), Dr. Philip Ojo said the development of ranches, paddocks and grazing reserves for intensive/ semi-intensive animal husbandry have severally been proffered as solution to this national security concern.
He said the efforts of the ministry through the department of animal husbandry services to develop pastures is very timely and a step in the right direction which will not only reduce the crop farmers and herders’ clashes but also enhance the productivity of livestock.