– RUGA settlement, an initiative by the federal government continues to divide opinions in Nigeria
– The government has repeatedly said that the settlement is aimed at curbing open grazing of animals that continue to pose security threats to farmers and herders
– But many say the initiative is a misnomer in a federal system with so much diversity like Nigeria
A farmer based in Nasarawa state, Retson Tedheke, has shared his thoughts on the controversial RUGA settlement policy of the federal government.
Delta-born Tedheke, is of the opinion that the policy is commendable, adding that it will end the farmers/herders crisis in the country.
In a series of tweets on Friday, January 22, Tedheke reeled out five reasons why he thinks Nigerians should support the RUGA policy.
Legit.ng lists the reasons below:
1. Firstly, believing that herders can ranch their cattle and make money without open grazing in Nigeria is ignorance. Ranching globally is heavily subsidized. The herders in Nigeria are the most ignored when it comes to government support.
Almost every category of farmers in Nigeria has one form of government support or the other compared to cattle herders. Comparatively, the herders are not educated enough to be individually organized and their organized structures are not broad.
2. A hybrid of open grazing and ranching, 100% financed by the governments at all levels is the real deal capable of a sustainable solution. In a hybrid RUGA, local governments and states provide land. Anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 hectares. States speed up the development of these lands to include farm settlements.
3. Governments with practicing consultants like the Nigeria Farmers Group and Cooperative will then go on a massively fast developmental process that does not require too much investment of expensive but basic infrastructure.
You need basic laterite roads to these farm industrial parks, you need mini dams for all-year-round water supplies. You need rural electricity. You need the community buy-in by using those parks as their major sources of livelihood.
4. We as a people have to stop demonizing our own. The American cowboy industry is not different from the Fulani cattle industry. While the Americans have created a multi-billion dollar industry from the cowboy in fashion, music, movies, culture, etc. The Nigerian Fulani herder is demonized, ignored, rejected, and stereotyped.
5. The Netherland generates an average of 100billion USD annually from agriculture. Australia is doing about 50billion annually from dairy and Brazil is doing about 10billion USD annually from beef, cow meat.
We cannot have 84million arable hectares of farmland, an average youth population of about 20 years, and over 200 million mouths to feed and still not take agriculture seriously.
Recall that Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state had alleged that the federal government is colluding with the National Assembly to allow herdsmen to grab land under the guise of the National Water Resources Bill.
Ortom in a statement through his spokesperson, Terver Akase claimed the provisions of the bill granted herdsmen unhindered access to river basins, adjacent marine and coastal environments across the country.
Despite Ortom and several stakeholders’ complaining of the provisions of the bill, the federal government has insisted that it will not back down on enacting the proposed law.
Lai Mohammed, the minister of information and culture also dismissed the suggestion that the bill was designed to cause conflict.
Nigeria’s agricultural revolution kick-starts in Nasarawa state | Legit TV