The Federal Government on Tuesday said it would provide insurance cover and agro-rangers for ranch operators to curb cases of cattle rustling as well as clashes between farmers and herdsmen.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said this in Abuja at a national conference on the transformation of the livestock industry.
Osinbajo, who was represented at the event by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, explained that 3,000 agro-rangers had been adequately trained to protect animals and livestock from rustlers.
The vice president stated, “For those who want to go into ranching, here is the good news; we have heard how many of you have lost money, 300 cows in one night to rustling.
“We have now put together a new security group called the agro-rangers. These rangers are being trained by the Ministry of Interior, they are heavily armed. Three thousand of them are being trained.
“If you start a ranch or you have a big agricultural project, approach us, we will post them to you at no cost to protect your investment.”
Osinbajo added, “We do not want you to go into ranching only to hear one night that all your cattle were taken. We intend to give you insurance cover because we consider this industry as serious.
“We need prosperity in that sector because we know that if it thrives, a great deal of good will be done to our country.”
He noted that agriculture was not only a government affair, but also a private sector business.
The vice president added that the country had about 19 million cows, noting that the number was less when compared to other countries.
He lamented that the livestock sector had been neglected over the years, adding that growing grasses was a way of managing the sector.
Osinbajo stated, “At the end of this conference, we will take the recommendations and seriously begin to implement them. We are talking with the World Bank and the African Development Bank to see how they can help us. There is no way ranches will survive without grasses.
“We want this fight between farmers and herdsmen to stop and it must stop.”
In his comments at the event, the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, said the state government was in the process of setting up ranches to develop the livestock sector.
Ortom, who was represented by his deputy, Mr. Benson Abounu, said that ranching was necessary to improve the quality of beef and livestock production in the country.