The Federal Government says it will end the unabated farmers-herdsmen clashes across the country by reopening the existing grazing reserves.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh made this known to newsmen, while speaking on the accomplishments of President Buhari in the agriculture sector since 2015.
Following the encroachment of some grazing reserves, Ogbeh stated that the FG will make available; about three million hectares of land for cattle grazing in the country.
He said, “We have to get it sorted out and we are starting work in another week or two – to reopen the old grazing reserves.
“At a time, at the end of the first republic, there were 415 of them even as far down as the South West and South East.
“Today, they have been encroached upon (but) we still have three million hectares available for cattle grazing reserves that are more than the cattle in Nigeria needs.
“The problem is that over the years, we forgot that these herdsmen were going to become a problem.
”Later in life and especially, this new attitude by herdsmen that when they enter your farm, they should be free to eat your crops and you have no right to challenge them.
“That is a new phenomenon which we find extremely disturbing that when they do so, and you complain, they can shoot you.
“That was not so many years ago which is why we simply have to deal with the matter now.
“But the final message to Nigerians is that we have no choice but to produce enough food to feed ourselves so that the average family does not spend more than 20 per cent of its earnings buying food.
”As it is, people spend about 60 per cent on food. It is too expensive and it is not sustainable.’’
The minister further mentioned that the government would assist with cashew nuts processing machines to enable the country double her export earnings from N800 million dollars to 1.7 billion dollars annually.
“We send raw cashews to Vietnam and India; they process, create jobs and make two-and-half times the profit that we make.
“Vietnam earns 3.5 billion dollars a year from cashew nuts bought from Africa, from Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau and Tanzania so, why can’t we process,” Ogbeh said.