Former Imo State Governor and Federal Senator, Rochas Okorocha, has said that Nigeria is losing billions of dollars in the cattle farming dairy chain, as cattle farming in Nigeria is largely done through grazing, and not through a chain that values export of beef, milk and leather.
Rochas disclosed this in an interview with Channels TV on Sunday evening.
“Herding is a human rights and labour law issue,” Senator Okorocha said, citing the use of kids to walk cattle from the North to the South.
“It’s my concern because they are not going to schools… If you agree with me, these children don’t own the cattle; they are owned by Nigerians, some of them even Southerners… We are subjecting these kids to travel 1000km.
Coming to the point made by the Southern Governors, they are saying, the reason to ban open cattle grazing, is because of the Ak-47 (arms) involved within the herders. The herders we know carry sticks, but the armed ones destroy people’s crops.
Nobody is saying they don’t like beef, but it’s the effect… the armed herders and the destruction of crops. These are the two issues, but then we jump over it and politicize it,” he said.
He added that there were so many elements to the cattle business, saying, “This business of cattle can create one million jobs, for Nigerians if well managed… By now, we should be exporters of leather skin. What of dairy products, like milk?
Assuming we have this business, do you know how many welders will build the body carriers for these cows? We can export the beef. Are we waiting to start importing meat from Niger?” he asked rhetorically.
He added that the Southern Governors were not saying they didn’t want beef, but it should be ranched so that the kids would go to school.
Alhaji Muhammad Nanono, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, disclosed in March 2021 that the FG had announced the launch of a national dairy policy to promote and develop Nigeria’s dairy industry and consumption.
The Minister said the collaboration with other Federal MDAS on Nigeria’s Milk policy would create a National Dairy Policy.
The Federal Government also announced the launch of the National Livestock Breed Improvement Programme (NALBIP), which would reduce herdsmen/farmer clashes and also boost dairy cattle production in Nigeria.