Saturday, 11 June 2016

Agric Minister: We’re Not Forcing Anyone To Donate Land For Grazing Reserves

The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, on Thursday, said plans had been concluded to develop grazing reserves nationwide and in an apparent reply to the position of the Benue State Government that it has no inch of land to donate for grazing reserve, affirmed that no one would force anyone to donate lands for the project.

He said the government already had enough lands donated by some state governments for the project, saying very soon, the problem over grazing rights would be over.

Ogbeh, while speaking in Abuja at a town hall meeting on good governance, stated that with about 45 million hectares lying idle, there was no reason for the problem to arise overgrazing.

According to him, his ministry was focusing on achieving self-sufficiency in staple foods, not overlooking those that could be exported to earn forex.

The minister acknowledged that the country was facing severe challenges in the area of food sufficiency as prices of rice and tomato, among others, had gone high.

He attributed the situation to the fact that the country, over the years, migrated from culture of food production to food importation.

Ogbeh argued that states and local governments must also be questioned on what they were doing regarding agriculture in their respective domains.

Speaking further, the minister said the target of the government was to turn the country to become the highest producer of cocoa in the world, from its current third position.

He disclosed that there were plans to train 50,000 extension workers to boost agricultural production, whereas the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) was to train farm ranchers to protect investment in ranches so that cattle would no longer be stolen by rustlers.

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