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Govt Plans 50,000-Hectare Grazing Reserve in Six Months

Daily trust Newspaper – March 9, 2016

The Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, yesterday said in order to stop the perennial conflicts between herders and farmers, the federal government had decided to grass-up 50,000 hectares of land in the next six months across the northern belt. The minister who spoke in Abuja at a news conference said: “We are faced with cattle grazing challenge now and the conflicts. A lot of people are getting killed, it is my business to solve that problem. The president has told me so. I have done my survey and I have taken my decision that we have to grass-up 50,000 hectares of land in the next six months across the northern belt before we move south.
“I’m bringing improved grass seeds, I will multiply it and I’m going to solve the problem of grazing. Whether critics like it or not, it’s my business.
“I have seen all sorts of negative comments in the media abusing me that I was going to import grass. I don’t know if the media is acting out of genuine ignorance or sheer ugly mischief. I am the expert in this (agric) business. Most of the commentators don’t know anything. Frankly, grass is not just grass. The Brazilians took a grass from Africa 18 years ago, spent 18 years to improve on it in the lab to get 20 percent crude protein, and trace elements. A cow can chew anything. I have seen a cow chew plastic out of hunger. If a cow eats a very bad material, when you eat the beef, you are poisoning yourself. Our production of meat is the lowest in the world. We are the only people still moving about with cows apart from the Maasai of East Africa. We are bringing in improved seeds, whether they comment or not. We will bring improved seeds, multiply them here and keep growing the grass,” he said.
The minister added:“It’s not enough to say grazing reserves. If we keep cattle in a grazing reserve and there is no grass, the herdsman would move away.  
“We are spending $1.3 billion per annum importing milk. We don’t have the money now but we must drink milk. Yet the grass you give to a beef cow is different from a milk cow and we don’t have the grass. If we say something and you don’t understand, call the ministry. But going to media to attack and insult is absolutely unnecessary.”
 
 

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