The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, on Thursday said the importation and cultivation of good and nutritious grass will put a stop to the clashes between herdsmen and farmers.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr. Ogbeh said this in Lagos during an interactive session with the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN).
Mr. Ogbeh was accompanied to the session by the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, and the Minister of Environment, Aminat Mohammed.
The NPAN was represented by its President and Publisher of Thisday Newpapers, Nduka Obaigbena, and Comfort Obi of The Source Magazine, among others.
He said that Nigerian cows, which should be among the best breed in the world, lacked the capacity to produce quality milk because they wandered about.
“The largest ranch in the world, dairy farm in the world is in Saudi Arabia; 135,000 cows in one farm, but they are the most comfortable cows on planet earth, they live in air-conditioned tents.
“They eat and they produce milk; they give 40 litres of milk per day. We do, sometimes, half a litre of the milk. That’s why Saudi milk is all over the gulf.
“Where do they get their grass? They get their grass from the U.S.; import alfalfa grass from the U.S. and from Sudan.
“Our cows are wandering and the herdsmen are at war with farmers; a crisis we must bring to an end as quickly as possible. And the solution is: grow grass.
“I have said it before, but I came up against a barrage of assaults. ‘Is it grass now? Na grass you go import?’ They said.
“With all due apologies to the commentators, they do not know as much as I do about this business of cattle; I keep some.
“There is no way you can keep cows without good grass to feed them and the grass must have a minimum of 18 per cent protein, trace elements and amino acids, then the cow will give you good meat,” he said.
At the meeting, the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, also said government would reposition the agricultural sector to become the mainstay of the economy.
“The ministry will give policy direction and coordination to make farming attractive and for people to practice it as business.
“Government will put policy in place to recover the 22 billion dollars which is floating out of the country’s resources to sustain farms in other countries back to our villages.
“Government will also ensure that bank review the two digits interest rate on loan to farmers and other productive sector.
“The change promised may appear to be slow, but it is actually taking place. In this year, we have harvested million tons of rice,’’ he said.