Dr. Junaidu A. Maina, Chairman of Danwaire Farms Ltd has suggested five systems of cattle production that will benefit the country and put money in the hands of many farmers.
He spoke at the just ended 3-day workshop on Investigating Agricultural sector, organized by the Daily Trust Foundation in Abuja.
The farmer, who shared his wealth of experience with participants, said to revamp cattle production and tackle the current challenges, special intervention should be made to the producers under the five systems he listed below.
Dr Junaidu said 415 identified grazing reserves covering a total of 4.3m hectares exist in 19 Northern States, adding that states should select and develop some for communal use in dry and at peak of farming seasons but charge grazing fees.
He suggested that the states should also grant land titles to encouraged sedentarization as start-up ranchers or agro-pastoralists under five Start-up ranchers (models): Small Ranches (25-50 heads of cattle) with about 50 hectares of land; Intermediary Ranches (51-100 heads of cattle) with about 150 hectares of land; Medium Ranches (101-250 heads of cattle) with about 300 hectares of land; Large Ranches( 300 -500 heads of cattle) with 500 hectares of land and Commercial Ranches (1000 cattle plus) with a minimum of 5000 hectares.
“Government should provide ranch starter packages in the form of special financing and beneficiaries must sign up; to Animal Identification System (AIM), Enrolment into National Herd Register, Register with Anchor Growers Programme, Procurement livestock Insurance and Enrolment on Ranchers’ capacity Building Scheme,” he said.
“Peri-urban farms are privately owned mixed farms of indigenous and crossbred cattle that sprang up in the periphery of many urban cities starting from the 1970s and flourished. They were dissipated by cattle rustling that started in 2012. Federal and state governments must restore security; provide subsidized insurance, access to finance, smart technologies and premium markets for their products.
Feedlots and Smallholder Fatteners
“Medium size feedlots operations and smallholder fattening schemes using indigenous cattle provide quality animals for slaughter and they exist in many major cities. These producers should be trained on how to source for quality animals and adapt technologies to improve weight gains and finishing. Federal and state governments should assist in accessing funds and access to premium markets for their products
“The practice of integrating trees, forage, and the grazing of domesticated animals in a mutually beneficial way. Silvopastoralism belongs to a group of practices known as agroforestry. Federal and state governments should encourage Silvopastoralism to reduce ungoverned spaces which are security risk hotspots
“Progressively, transhumant pastoralists are settling in all states of the Federation as agro-pastoralists. Agro-pastoralists negotiated for land and settled in many communities. Clusters of agro-pastoralists exist in many southern states at Iseyin-Igangan, Oyo State, in Adada-Nkpologu-Adani-Iggah axis in Enugu State, in Awgu-Nkanu-Abakaliki axis in Ebonyi State and other places. Many animals in the herd of agro-pastoralists belong to individuals in the local communities. Federal and state governments to provide incentives and enabling environment,” he highlighted.
To make this work, the farmer listed the following as the enablers for new ranchers:
Development of commercial pasture production for states that has good rainfall and “minding knowledge gaps in areas of productivity, the ability to translate research, in education and social skills for effective participation in decision-making and policy formulation on critical issues concerning land tenure, healthcare (including zoonoses), women’s rights and governance in general.”
Enhance commercial banks financing and existing livestock markets should be developed for bulk purchase, traceability and animal welfare while government needs to fund research to address the “dearth in critical skills such as range management science and farm management as well as a comprehensive policy with timeline for livestock development, evidence-based advocacy and lobby to counter the current negative narrative on animal production and stakeholders.”
He also suggested that specialized farms (high tech) for artificial insemination (AI) and embryo transfers (ET) for production of InCalf heifers, breeding bulls and semen should be encouraged, adding that there should be a “crossbreeding with selected exotic breeds and long-term selection for creation of national breeds.”