Open Grazing ; Nomadic Herds threat to Health of Nigerians–Agric Expert.
* Says Nigeria should emulate other countries on Ranching.
A Reknown Agriculturist and National Coordinator of Zero Hunger Farmers Commodities of Nigeria Dr. Tunde Arosanyin has warned the Federal Government to urgently tap into ranching method of rearing herds or risk loosing sizeable number of citizens to cancer, cardiac arrest and other terminal diseases.
This is as he advise Nigeria to emulate other countries who have adopted ranching as the best practices in rearing cattles, which he said has eliminated incidence of herders and farmers clashes in their countries which has continued to plague our nation.
The National Coordinator gave the warning at award ceremony conferred on him by the Okun Media Links held over the weekend in lokoja, state capital.
He noted that it is no longer fashionable for livestocks to continue to treck over a distance of 500-800kilometers , saying aside threats to food security , it poses grave dangers to health of the citizens.
Arosanyin added that the long trecking by cattles on yearly basis from the north to the south and back to the North will affect the nutrients inherent in their bodies , pointing out that Nomadic herds produce less milk compared to those in the ranch.
He disclosed that the kudale and wild cattle breeds that we have here if reared in ranches could produce 12 litres of milk in two days, lamented that they hardly produce 2 litres because, the nutrients that would have been converted to milk have been expended on long trecking
Dr. Arosanyin , a fellow of British crop protection council, a consultant with Guinness, leventis Farms and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture IITA, disclosed that the beef that Nigerians consumed is nothing but fibrous as the protein has been lost to trecking.
According to him,the grave danger of open grazing is that the animals feed on grasses , leaves that may have been sprayed with insecticides and herbicides with its pathogenic and transpogenic elements that affect humans.
” pathogenic and transpogenic elements are not easily dissolved in plants and when the cows feed on the grasses , it has residual effect of mammalian toxicity and when one eats such meat or drink such milk, one is invariably taking these elements ignorantly into his or her body system.
“These elements could take weeks, months and even years depending on one”s immunity before it begins to manifest in the form of sickness and diseases and it is potent in the cause of cancer, cardiac arrest and other terminal diseases.
” Also our waterways, when we spray these chemicals, it goes into the soil and moved to the water stream and some of these cows will drink it, the herders will use this untreated water to prepare cheese, fura de Nunu, even as these germs can survive above 100′ centigrade above the kitchen boiling point.
” My strong advise, for the health of our people and harmonious relationship of farmers and herders , is for livestock farmers to go into ranching. Ranching is not new in Nigeria. I could remember that in the 80s in Kaduna, we have ranching, that they even run a football club, known as Ranchers Bees.
” How can we achieve this, simple, 10-20 farmers can come together and do some ranching. I commend Governor of Kano state Abdullahi Ganduje who has given a leadway that there is vast land from Kano to Jigawa. .There should be partnership between federal government and those states to develop ranches in their states.
” The government should develop and upgrade irrigation facilities and plant crops that cattles will feed on and even the controversial Sambisha forest could be developed into further belts for cattles to be there and feed without necessarily infringing on the crops of others. “Most farmers in the north and middle belt have lost their farms and lives to the nomadic grazing. I say ranching is the modern way to go.” He Counselled.
He urged the government to enter into partnership with international organisations to help develop those areas into ranches which would ultimately reduce insecurity and ensure food security across the country.
He decried the pervading high cost of commodity goods in Kogi state, which it has earned number one position on the staple food price index in the country , said ordinarily, kogi should not have been associated with food scarcity.
According to him , the Agricultural potential of the state is very high with the two major rivers, Niger and Benue which traverse through the hitherland is rich in alluvial deposit, lamenting that improper agricultural policies have impeded the growth of agricultural sector.
He enjoined the state government through Ministry of agriculture to develop schemes that will interface with farmers whereby they can give them support through input subsidy and providing tractors to farmers.
He suggested for massive recruitment of Agriculture graduates who will work as extension Service officers to interface with farmers to give them advice between technology and practice on the field.
While calling on the government to do index of unemployed youth so as to make agricultural sector attractive to them by ensuring that few acres of land are provide for each of them with free inputs and for the government to buy back the produce and debit whatever expenses they might have incurred , saying it will drastically reduce unemployment and restiveness.