Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has accused the government of President Muhammadu Buhari of abandoning livestock business.
Baba-Othman Ngelzarma, president of the association, said this in a chat with newsmen in Abuja.
He said while billions of naira have been made available for rice farmers under the Central Bank’s Anchor Borrowers Scheme, and other aspects of agriculture, nothing significant has been done for livestock.
“Buhari has abandoned the pastoralists. This is very clear, whether Buhari or his lieutenants believe this or not, the pastoralists have been abandoned by the government. In the last eight years, nothing tangible was done for pastoralists.
“While over N500 billion was spent on agronomy, nothing was spent on livestock, almost nothing. Go and check all the state government’s budgetary provisions including the federal government’s budgetary provisions. If you see what is budgeted for livestock, you will be surprised. Livestock is being neglected completely.
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“How can a multi-trillion-naira business be left in the hands of illiterate without any form of organization? The government is getting nothing instead of benefiting a lot. Cattle business is next to oil. Livestock is next to oil. It can sustain the economy of this country with harnessing and organization. There’s nothing wasteful in the cow. Imagine the value chain – everything on the cow is money.”
Arguing that cattle breeders need government intervention although it is a private business, Ngelzarama said, “Aviation is business, but have you seen a commercial airline owner constructing his own airport? Road transportation is a business but have you seen commercial bus owners building their own roads?”
He called on the government to protect pastoralists, who are the worse hit of the ongoing insecurity crisis in the country.
“Pastoralists deserve protection; protection against cattle rustlers, kidnappers, bandits and so on. We are under threat; our trade is under threat, but for somebody because of crime perpetrated by a few among us, to put us in one basket and say all Fulani are criminals is not fair.
“We are open to attack by all sorts of thieves. We are at the receiving end of these crises including farmers-herders clashes and cattle rustling because pastoralists are the sole owners of the cattle. 98 percent of the cattle in this country are owned by the Fulani and they are victims of kidnapping too. There has never been a time when the pastoralists were supported or assisted after losing their means of livelihood. We also need protection from the government.
“Only recently the Buhari administration started implementing the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) where some states have accessed the N3 billion, N6 billion funding. Some states started it, the one in Yola has started but we see it as a project that cannot solve the problem.
“How do you think a livestock centre that can accommodate not more than 20,000 cows can solve the problem of the cows in Adamawa that are over two million? But as a model, it is okay, we appreciate it. At least the pastoralists will see how to modernise animal husbandry,” he said.