The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh on Friday disclosed that Nigeria currently has an estimated population of 19.5 million cattle, and needs 1,711 ranches in every state of the federation, totalling 633,333 in all.
Speaking while receiving an acceptance letter from the Kogi governor, Yahaya Bello on the setting up of cattle colony in the state, Ogbeh debunked claims that the federal government was out to take over lands from states and hand same to Fulani herdsmen for colonization.
He noted that mischievous persons have been misinterpreting the motive of the government on cattle colonies, reiterating that “we are not planning to take land from states for Fulanis to occupy”.
The minister, who disclosed that cattle contribute 6 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, said, “We have an estimated population of 19.5 million cattle now. If we have every individual keeping a ranch, it is an average population of 300 cows per herd.
“We need 1,711 ranches in every state, and 633,333 ranches in the country. The land belongs to states under the Land Use Act and we don’t have any intention to colonise them.
“I do hope that when the programme works, other states will key in,” the minister said, as he appreciated Governor Bello for the move promising that the federal government will support the project.