Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu on Thursday argued that mapping out grazing routes will help to identify the scale of the herder-farmer crisis.
President Muhammadu Buhari recently ordered a committee to review 368 grazing sites across 25 states in the country to determine the levels of encroachment.
Critics have faulted the President’s directive, noting that ranching is a more viable alternative to open grazing.
But, speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Mr Bagudu said the President’s directive does not preclude the idea of ranching.
“The committee is to identify grazing routes and work with states and map them. It is not to recover grazing routes, it is to identify the scale of the problem,” Mr Bagudu said.
“Mr President is interested in an audit of grazing reserves. It is a voluntary and collaborative thing with the states.
“People say we have spoken about ranching. Yes, but what is a ranch? Ranching does not take place in the air, it takes place on a piece of land.
“Ranches are as big as grazing reserves. In some countries like Australia, some ranches are bigger than some Nigerian states.
“So how do you know what’s available, what can be supported to host those roving, herding communities who need help to modernise?”
Shared public interest
When asked why the President appeared to have taken a special interest in helping herders modernise since it is a private business, Mr Bagudu said the issue is a “shared public interest.”
“We have interest historically to make our farmers do better,” he said. “That’s why we have all kinds of programs and extension services, so our farmers can do better. And it is a desirable public goal.
Anambra kicks off Agric revolution orders distribution of palm seedlings
Anambra State Governor, Chukwuma Soludo has commenced what he called cash crop revolution programme in the state, by ordering for distribution of millions of coconut and palm seedlings procured by the state government to farmers across the state.
Already, the state government has constituted a committee drawn from the three senatorial zones of the state to map out strategies for distributing the seedlings in the various communities.
Commissioner for information, Mr Paul Nwosu, who spoke after the state’s weekly executive council meeting in Awka said it was in furtherance of Soludo’s plans to reenact some of the agricultural policies of the first Republic Premier of the Eastern region, the late Dr Michael Okpara whose agricultural revolution was exemplary.
Nwosu said: “In furtherance of government policy to re-enact the prosperous era of Chief M.I Okpara in the old Eastern region when cash crops were the main source of revenue, Anambra State Executive Council has constituted a committee drawn from the three Senatorial zones to map out strategies for distributing the millions of coconut and palm seedlings which have been procured.
Professor Soludo had at several times and fora described coconut and palm economy as a major game changer in terms of diversification of sources of foreign exchange in the state.
“When we discovered crude oil, we abandoned palm oil and now that crude oil is almost finished, we have to go back to the basics which is palm economy.
“Beyond the palm, we are also going into coconut economy and we have ordered for a million of coconut and palm seeds.”
The Commissioner also announced the governor’s immediate dissolution of all boards and governing councils of government -owned departments and agencies, adding that the most senior civil servants in the organizations would be in charge in the interim.
Also at the meeting, the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice presented a memo which seeks to reform major aspects of the dispensation of justice.
Part of the recommendation was for the building of model juvenile delinquent facility in the state in line with international standards, especially as non of such facility exists in the South East.
According to the Commissioner there is also a proposal for the digitization of the state justice system to ensure quick dispensation of justice, adding that staff of the Ministry of Justice and the state judiciary would undergo digital training to be mounted by computer experts.
LASG TRAINS, EMPOWERS 500 RICE FARMERS
The Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture has trained and empowered 500 Rice Farmers across the State as part of efforts to increase rice production.
Speaking at the event, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, said that the initiative was designed to boost rice production and improve its nutritional values.
Announcing that the programme would be extended to other rice farmers across Lagos State, the Commissioner said: “This training will bring about standardised farming techniques and ensure high quality of rice production to effectively compete with international standards. The high consumption of imported rice by Nigerians is bound to reduce if local rice production is of the same or higher quality and value”.
She maintained that the Knapsack Sprayer, Fertilizer and Faro 44 Rice Seedlings given to all the 500 participants will aid an increase in rice production and advised the beneficiaries to practice all they learnt in the training programme.
Also delivering an address at the event, Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Dr. Oluwarotimi Fashola, averred that the Lagos State Government has invested so much to develop the production of high-quality rice across the State, noting that over 1000 youths in Lagos had also been empowered in the past through training in modern rice farming techniques.
Dr. Fashola recalled that Lagos had established partnerships with northern states to boost production of rice farming that would translate into employment opportunities and increased revenue.
He said the training programme focused on the Production, Processing and Packaging of EKO OFADA Rice and EKO Rice.
Noting that the training was part of the strategy to make locally produced rice available in large quantities in Lagos, Dr. Fashola said the 12,000 tonne-capacity Imota Rice Mill would also facilitate the production of commercial quantity rice on completion by December 2022.
The Honourable Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture, Mr. Kehinde Joseph, delivered a goodwill message, imploring the 500 beneficiaries to justify Lagos State’s investment by ensuring that rice produced locally meets international standards.
Senate passes bill to establish Agricultural Development Fund
The Senate, on Tuesday, passed a bill to establish the National Agricultural Development Fund.
The passage of the bill followed the consideration of a motion for re-commital of the National Development Fund (Establishment) Bill, 2022.
The motion was sponsored by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (APC, Kebbi North).
Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, in his presentation, recalled that both chambers of the National Assembly passed the National Development Fund (Establishment) Bill, 2022, and transmitted same to the President for assent.
He noted that after critical examination of the Bill by President Muhammadu Buhari, some fundamental issues which required fresh legislative action on some Clauses were observed.
He explained that against the backdrop, a Technical Committee of the Senate and House of Representatives met and worked on the affected Clauses of the Bill, “desirous of the need to assess the observations by the Committee and make necessary amendments.”
Accordingly, the chamber rescinded its decision on the affected Clause of the Bill as passed and re-committed same to the Committee of the Whole for re-consideration and passage.
The bill was passed by the chamber after the affected Clauses were re-considered by the Committee of the Whole.
In a related development, a total of three bills scaled second reading during plenary on Tuesday.
The bills are for an Act to provide for the facilitation and co-ordination of public infrastructure development; to amend the Provisions of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission Act; and to Repeal the Quarantine Act and Enact the National Health Emergency Act.
The bills were sponsored by Senators Sadiq Suleiman Umar (Kwara North); Uche Lilian Ekwunife (Anambra Central); and Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu North).
The Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, who presided over plenary on Tuesday, referred the bills after consideration to the Committees on National Planning; Trade and Investment; and Primary Healthcare and Communicable Diseases.
The Committees were given four weeks to report back to the chamber in plenary.
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