The Anambra State Government has lunched a cow rearing business known using Efi-Igbo, the Igbo variety of cattle. The cows are ranched in a computer-regulated atmosphere.
Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose has advanced the course of peace in this country by his steps to introduce cattle ranching in Ekiti State. It was announced recently that the Ekiti State Government will introduce cattle ranching in Ekiti, in response to the unending killings of citizens of the state in crises over cattle grazing.
The issue of cattle grazing is one that has led many to their untimely deaths, and yet the relevant authorities are still being slow to do what is needed to be done: that is to financially empower the herdsmen to buy land, fence it and start their own cattle ranch.
Nigeria’s herdsmen-farmer crisis has led to so many unnecessary deaths and had a very bad effect on Nigeria’s agricultural sector. It has increased the amount of internally displaced people in Nigeria. It also poses grave risks to President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts to diversify Nigeria’s economy, following the crash in the price of crude oil.
The answer to this as everybody, both the herdsmen, the federal and state governments, the farmers and the general public have agreed is a phasing out of cattle grazing. That is where the point of departure starts.
The herdsmen made it clear that they lack the funds to buy land for commercial ranching; the Federal Government and sections of the National Assembly started work to create grazing reserves, dedicated for cattle grazing and a Grazing Reserve Commission to be in charge of the whole thing.
But the problem arose when it was clear that under the plan, ethnic ancestral lands would be taken from people and used in these reserves. Thus, many in Southern Nigeria bitterly oppose the grazing reserve plan, seeing it as an attempt to take land from Southerners to give to a profession dominated by Northerners; seeing it in other words, as a ploy that could result in an indirect land grab.
So, this got me thinking as to what I could do to end the problem because tensions between the herdsmen and farming communities all over the country remain high.
Who I am
First, let me introduce myself. My name is Prince Charles Offokaja. I am a journalist, businessman, philanthropist, and blogger, among several other caps I wear. As a blogger I write on several blogs, including Igbodefender.com and Zikistmovement.com; and as a philanthropist, I am the founder of my own NGO, the Prince And Princess Charles Offokaja Foundation, with CAC IT number 75980.
It was as a blogger and as a philanthropist that I proposed to tackle the issue of bringing peace, unity, and harmony between Nigeria’s herdsmen and farmers, 2 of our most important communities.
The Attempt For A Solution
As part of my search for a solution, I ran across a foreign donor organization called the Global Innovation Fund (GIF). The organization funds social innovations all over the world, even to the tune of $15 million dollars.
Their website describes their services thus, ”
The Global Innovation Fund invests in social innovations that aim to improve the lives and opportunities of millions of people in the developing world.
Through our grants and risk capital, we support breakthrough solutions to global development challenges from social enterprises, for-profit firms, non-profit organisations, researchers, and government agencies.
…The fund is flexible in our funding structure: we can provide anywhere from $50,000 – $15 million and we can use any form of capital – grants, equity, debt, hybrid capital, etc.
My team and I decided to apply for a grant of $15 million (N4.5 billion) to set up and then donate a 30,000 Hectare mega ranch to the principal herdsmen association in Nigeria, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria or MACBAN.
Governor Ikpeazu of Abia, while speaking on Magic 102.9 FM Aba flagship programme “People and Politics said;
“We don’t need grazing reserves in the South-East, because we don’t have land space for it. There are enough land in the north, so let have grazing reserves there.”
“There is massive landmass in the North to create grazing reserves, we can’t allow anybody to come to South East and take our lands in the name of creating grazing reserves.”
It will be recalled that commercial cattle ranching has been suggested as a much better alternative to grazing reserves which could breed inter-ethnic conflicts.
It has been suggested that the Federal Government should instead
A private company, Eagle Farms and Cattle Ranch has begun operations in Umuchu in Anambra State, showing that it is possible to apply modern methods in cattle rearing in Nigeria.
At the ranch, the cattle are reared in a confined space, and don’t go grazing in the community, which would bring tensions if they go into people’s farms and begin to eat their crops.
This is a step in the right direction, as ranching also gives the operator the opportunity to gather the cow dung and use it to generate electricity. The slurry will also serve as animal organic manure.
Update: This is now 2019, and first public pictures of a cow bred in this ranch have been shared. And the cow is the fattest cow we have ever seen! It doesn’t graze, so it doesn’t grow thin through trekking. Commercial ranching is the answer.