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Give Me N114 Billion; I’ll Convert 14 Grazing Reserves into Ranches – El-Rufai

Gov. Nasir El-Rufai has demanded for N114 billion to convert 14 grazing reserves in Kaduna State to cattle ranches. He said it will cost about N10 billion to develop one ranch over a two-year period, and that he doesn’t have the money for the 14 ranches it might require to accommodate all cattle herders in the country.

El-Rufai said the northern governors forum have agreed that ranching is the best solution to cattle grazing problems in Nigeria. He said the recent development where southern governors are signing anti-open grazing laws is not sensible and even implementable. He agreed that cattle herders are mainly from the norther part of the country and that the entire north is going to centralise them at one rallying point.

“This project we are doing will cost us about N10 billion,” he said. “The CBN is supporting us with about N7.5 billion. And it will take about two years to do. These herders emanate from the north and we are going to centralize them. We cannot do it overnight. We need billions of naira. This is just one ranch that is causing N10 billion. I have 14 grazing reserves in Kaduna state and I would like to convince them into ranching. Do I have 14 times N10 billion? I don’t have.”

Gov. Nasir El-Rufai

The governor said herding large numbers of livestock from the north to the south or east of the country is not sustainable. He noted that this situation has led to the destruction of farmlands by cattle and also the loss of lives when farmers try to defend their farms. He said this is avoidable and that the government must implement ranching rather than going for legislation that will not work over time.

“The northern state governors forum has already taken a position that open grazing is not a sustainable way of livestock production,” El-Rufai stated.  “And we must move towards ranching. But moving towards ranching cannot be done overnight.  We have to have a plan; we have to have resources, and we have to implement it sensibly. It is not a matter of populist legislation, or saying tomorrow this or that. It is not a solution.”

The Kaduna State governor made these assertions on Tuesday at the APC national secretariat in Abuja.