By: Joy Odor/Kaduna
The National Commission for Nomadic Education (NCNE) is set to construct ranches to provide state of art grazing resources for livestock pastoralists and crop farmers in the country with a view to curtailing the unending farmers and pastoralist’s conflict that are posing serious threat to peace and security in Nigeria.
This was made known to newsmen by the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Professor Bashir Usman in his speech at the opening of a Four Days Training Workshop on Ranching for Grazing Reserves Development holding in Zaria, Kaduna, North-West, Nigeria designed for 100 Nomadic Field Extension Agents to mobilized, sensitized and promote the adoption of ranching among the pastoralists and crop farmers.
The Agents are also to ensure the keep track of early warning signs of conflicts, manage and ensure amicable resolution of conflicts with a view to promoting peace building between pastoralists and crop farmers.
Professor Usman informed that these conflicts have remained unabated and heightened of recent and have seriously impacted negatively on the lives and livelihoods of the pastoralists and farmers including schools and other infrastructure put in place by the Commission in nomadic communities.
The Executive Secretary informed that currently, there are 416 grazing reserves in Nigeria spread across the 6 geo-political zones with a total of 3.4 million hectares of land, out of which 141 are gazette, while 275 are yet to be gazette.
In this views, he stressed that the Commission will transform and modernized the livestock industry from a predominantly extensively and uncoordinated tradition to a more formal and systematized industry of ranching through building capacity of its grassroots Extensive Agents on ranching.
According to him, the current paradigm shift from extensive to intensive livestock producers which is relatively new and has created serious skill gaps among the field level staff required training and retraining on ranching to adequately mobilized, sensitized, educate and effectively organized the livestock producers to adopt ranching within the context of grazing reserves development in Nigeria.
Professor Usman hoped to work closely with all relevant stakeholders in providing the needed support and infrastructure in the gazette grazing reserves caved out for the establishment of ranches.
Declaring the workshop open, the Chairman Governing Board of the Commission Professor Gidado Tahir hope that the training would provide practical and relevant approaches that would be useful insights on ranching, peace building, conflict management and resolution to abreast the trainee and strategies that would enable them to effectively interface with the pastoralists.
This, he said, is with a view to broaden their understanding and accelerated the process of adoption as well as facilitates increased access of quality and functional basis education to nomads and also to demonstrate the importance the Commission attached to the Federal Government’s policy directive of finding lasting to the farmers and pastoralists conflicts.
In his address, the Acting Director of the Department of Extension Education and Skills Development, Dr. Abdu Umar Ardo expressed optimistic that the training would availed participants another opportunity to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge needed for the successful implementation of ranching for the overall improvement of access and quality of basic education as well as quality of life of their teaming clientele.
According to him, this would be achieved through the intensification of building the needed support for the strengthening and effective implementation of policies, programs and projects targeted at promoting livestock producers general and engender peace as well as resolve farmer and pastoralist conflicts in particular.