From Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, has warned that the lingering impasse between farmers and herders in the country would affect the N33 trillion livestock sector.
Nanono, who spoke on Tuesday during a stakeholders’ meeting on national dairy policy in Abuja, appealed to those involved to sheathe their swords as the problem would lead to meat and milk scarcity.
‘The livestock subsector in this country is worth over N33 trillion. But it is one sector that is being neglected because of the misconception of what the sector is all about. We must address farmers and herders clash in a fundamental way, rigorous way because we cannot allow this national asset to dissipate,’ the minister said.
‘So, it is very important that this fundamental issue is addressed and addressed properly.’
He added: ‘Presently, we are very far from meeting national sufficiency in dairy production in particular, and therefore spend huge amount on importation of dairy products to bridge the huge gap between supply and demand.
‘Successive Administrations had made efforts to close the gap through programmes such as Dairy Development Programme, National Livestock Breed Improvement Programme among others thus creating opportunity for private sector participation.
‘The proposed policy therefore, is to give defined direction for the country’s dairy industry where all players at whatever scale will be expected to abide by rules of operation, in terms of production, processing and marketing of dairy products in Nigeria.
‘This meeting has come at a time when the vision of the Federal Government is articulated through the change approach and a standard practice to be applied at every level of society, individual, family, community and management towards a pragmatic national development.
‘This approach is to significantly reduce livestock and livestock products imports and at the same time stimulate exports to earn the much needed foreign exchange.
‘The private sector will remain in the lead while government will provide the enabling environment through policies, supporting infrastructure, systems, control processes and oversight support.’