Baba Ngelzarma, national president of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), says despite supporting President Muhammadu Buhari’s reelection bid in 2019, he abandoned pastoralists.
Ngelzarma, former secretary of the association who was recently elected president, said this on Saturday night in a chat with journalists in Abuja.
The MACBAN president said while huge sums of money have been voted for the development of agriculture in the country, little or nothing has been earmarked for animal husbandry.
“On the eve of the last election that brought in Buhari for the second term, we endorsed him. We showed the world that we are with him but thereafter, up till now as I speak to you, nothing has been done,” he said.
“Buhari has abandoned the pastoralists. This is very clear, whether Buhari or his lieutenants, the pastoralists have been abandoned by the government. In the last eight years, nothing tangible… while over N500 billion was spent on agronomy, nothing was spent on livestock, almost nothing.
“Go and check all the state government’s budgetary provisions including the federal government’s budgetary provisions. If you see what is budgeted for livestock, you will be surprised.
“Livestock is being neglected completely.”
Ngelzarma said though the association is happy about the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP), it would do little or nothing to address the problems of pastoralists.
“Only recently the Buhari administration started implementing the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) where some states have accessed the N3 billion, N6 billion funding,” he said.
“Some states started it, the one in Yola has started but we see it as a project that cannot solve the problem.
“How do you think a livestock center that can accommodate not more than 20,000 cows can solve the problem of the cows in Adamawa that are over two million? But as a model, it is okay, we appreciate it. At least the pastoralists will see how to modernize animal husbandry.”
WHY HERDERS ARE NOT EMBRACING RANCHING
Ngelzarma said pastoralists are not embracing ranching because it is alien to them, adding that the lack of education is making the problem worse.
“Whatever mode of ranching that is being introduced into this country, these guys would hardly embrace it, the reason is it is alien to them as it is not capturing the reason they are rearing their cows,” he said.
“To them, the quality does not matter much, what matters much to them is the quantity. They also want to die and leave so many cows for their children to inherit.”
He added that as president, one of his goals is giving orientation to pastoralists to see the need of having an education and embracing ranching, as well as engage with governments at all levels to provide the necessary intervention.
Source (The Cable)