From: Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has lamented that about 70 million cattle were presently grazing in the state bringing the ratio of humans to cattle to one person to 10 cattle.
The Governor stated this at the official commissioning of prototype on conversion of cassava peels to animal feeds installed by Synergos in collaboration with the Benue State Government and International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) at the Oracle Cassava Peels Factory in Makurdi, on Tuesday.
Represented by the Commissioner of Agriculture and Natural Resources, James Anbua, Governor Ortom, who posited that Benue, with a population of about 7 million people was currently playing host to 70 million cattle spread across its 23 local government areas, decried the increasing influx of cattle into the State which according to him, was hampering farming activities which the state is known for.
“Benue people are purely farmers and we all know that if we combine rearing of livestock with our kind of farming, there will be a problem. Our fertile land has now become a problem to us because the number of cattle is now more than the number of humans. That is why we have sent an anti grazing bill to the state House of Assembly.”
While commending the organizers of the project, the Commissioner assured that the state had the capacity to supply more than enough cassava peels to the animal feeds factory even as he appealed for the establishment of two more of such factories in the state adding that the factory is apt especially now that the country is clamouring for ranches so that feeding will not pose a problem to cattle rearers.
Earlier in their separate addresses, country Representative of ILRI, Tunde Amole and that of Synergos, Adewale Ajadi while noting that Nigeria produces 14 million metric tons of cassava peels annually, regretted however that the country had not been taking care of its wastes.
“What we are doing today is a small step of a man and a giant step for Africa.nIt is a global impactful project. We must be able to conserve what we have to be able to produce what we need. This is an innovation that will turn around our livestock industry.”