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The Minister, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, FMARD, Sabo Nanono, has said the ongoing crisis between herders and farmers would affect the N33 trillion livestock Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that could accrue to the Nigerian economy.
Speaking during the inaugurating of the 5th Council of the Nigerian Institute of Animal Science (NIAS), in Abuja, the minister lamented that Nigerians have allowed sentiments and emotions to becloud their sense of reasoning in tackling the problem.
He claimed that Funlani herders who carry sticks, cutlasses and guns do so to protect cattle from snakes and other dangerous animals contrary to speculations that they use them to instigate violence.
In Nanono’s words “We are in a very dangerous era in this country, particularly in the livestock sector and development of cattle. Fortunately or unfortunately, cattle form a better part of livestock development because of its size, value and mobility. I think we have allowed ourselves to be derailed by emotions and sentiments because this is an industry that forms about 60 per cent to the GDP of the agricultural sector and worth over N33 trillion”.
“No country in the world will play with this industry and this kind of opportunity. This is an economy of its own. Up till now we have not known the connecting role of the rural economy of cattle.
“If you do not know I will tell you. I am a Fulani man and I have been in this business in the last 43 years from the cattle inherited. Now I know the better quality of cattle.
“I hate to see a situation where some people will not feel safe in some parts of the country while others operate safely in other sectors of the economy. We have lost our bearing in solving this problem long time ago.” he said.
He disclosed that the Federal Government and the Moroccan Government had signed an agreement to establish a livestock hospital in Nigeria in order to take care of domestic animals.
“We are trying to set up a national livestock hospital for breeding. Not only for cattle but for horses and several other animals. My team recently visited Morocco and we are working on it.” Nanono said.