Ranching: FG to convert 177 grazing reserves for use

By Taiwo Ojoye

John Ameh and Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja

With the refusal of some state governors to give land for ranching, the Federal Government has decided to reactivate and convert the country’s grazing reserves to ranches, as it strives to end the deadly clashes between farmers and herdsmen.

 It was also gathered on Friday that plans were being perfected to convert about 177 out of the 415 grazing reserves across the country to ranches.

Saturday PUNCH learnt that the 177 grazing reserves had been gazetted already and that the Federal Government was still confident that some states would provide land for ranching.

Aside from Kogi State that had officially agreed to provide about 5,000 hectares of land, no other state had publicly announced its willingness to provide land for ranches or cattle colony.

On Sunday evening, governors of the South-East states rose from a meeting in Enugu with a decision that no land would be made available for the establishment of cattle ranches in the zone.

When asked what next step the Federal Government would adopt in order to establish ranches, sources at the lands department of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, as well as officials at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development stated that the option of grazing reserves was being considered.

“The ministry will do something about the establishment of ranches and we know that state governments were initially contacted to freely donate land because we realise that ranching is the best way forward,” an official at the lands department of the FMPWH, who pleaded not to be named as he was not authorised to speak on the matter, said.

At the FMARD, a senior official said, “Considering the opposition to the provision of land by states, I can tell you that right now the President has asked the ministry to find out which of the grazing reserves are still available. It was established that about 100 of the grazing reserves that have been gazetted are available.

“So between these reserves and what the state governments will offer, we will see how we can handle the issue, as something is being done to start up the ranches. Now, it is important to also state that it costs a lot of money to build a ranch and that is why individuals are not going into it …read more

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