Experts in the livestock sector are advising that the federal government should kick-start the process of putting to use the unused arable lands as one of the solutions to the grazing crisis in the country.
They said if recovering the old grazing reserves and stock routes will be too difficult or cumbersome, making use of fallow arable lands will be the perfect option.
President Muhammadu Buhari had recently directed the review of 368 grazing sites, across 25 states in the country, in what the federal government said was “to determine the levels of encroachment on the sites.”
The president’s directive followed the approval of the recommendations of a committee chaired by his Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari. This is coming at a time the President also said only 2.5 percent of the nation’s arable lands were being put to use, leaving the larger parts abandoned.
As has become the norm in recent times in the country, the directive had however elicited mixed reactions from citizens.
This was because the issue of grazing reserves, stock routes, and even ranching has become a vexed topic for political calculation and alleged ethnic subjugation. Whenever the issue of grazing is mentioned, many immediately come out with what they think should be the ideal situation.
But in the midst of the controversies, what is certain is the place of livestock in the socio-economic development of the country.
Experts have alluded to the fact that if well managed, the livestock industry has the potential to be a great earner and contributor to the GDP of the country.
An example was given about the situation in Texas in the United States of America, a desert but has so many livestock due to the expertise and dedication of the government and the people in the sector to leverage the advantages that the sector can contribute to the economy of the country.