There’s no gainsaying the fact that cattle grazing by Fulani herdsmen has led to clashes between herdsmen and farmers in some parts of Nigeria.
Regrettably, some confrontations have led to deaths and destruction of farmlands and property with the herdsmen being fingered as the aggressors.
Many Nigerians, however, have canvassed for cattle ranching as one major solution to the lingering feud.
But as unattainable as ranching seemed to be in some states of the federation, Anambra has distinguished itself with series of ranching springing up in some parts of the state.
A classic example is the Nkeonyemetalu Farms and Agro Ventures, situated at Amaetiti in Orumba North local government area.
The mechanised farm, sitting on close to 200 plots of land, engages in cattle ranching, fishery, poultry, piggery as well as plantations of different crops.
It also has local, efi Igbo and cross breed cows, poultry section with over 30,000 birds and the fish ponds with over 156,000 cat fish.
Other segments of the farm include, piggery department, the plantain, pineapple, paw paw and sugar cane plantations, as well as facilities for frozen foods among others.
Chairman of the Farms, Chief Walter Chigbo, described ranching as a more profitable way of rearing cattle.
He said Fulani herdsmen who engage in nomadic method of rearing cows were doing so out of ignorance.
He said, “Cattle are like humans, you take them about looking for food, and as you walk about to feed, they expend the same energy they gather from the food they take in, walking about, at the end, it tells on the health of the cows.
“The Fulani herdsmen either do not know that it is more profitable to rear your cattle in a secluded place, or they have become used to be nomads and cannot adjust.
“I will take you to my cattle farm after now, and we have a good number of cows there, including the native cows which we call ‘efi Igbo’, and you will compare them with the ones you see the Fulani people walking about with.
“Study has shown that it is better to rear your cattle in a secluded place. Feed them well, and they rest well too, and before long, you will see how fat they will grow.
“In United Arab Emirates where I did a study, I saw a cow that is so big that this house cannot contain it. Such cows, you can get two drums of milk on a daily basis from it, but if they were to be taking the cow about on foot to feed it, you would see how tired it would look, and that will affect its size too.”
While calling on the federal government to encourage ranching rather than open grazing, Chigbo stressed that herders should go for land for construction of ranches, insisting that every sector of agriculture was profitable.
“This farm you see is sitting on 162 plots of land, and I bought the land from indigenes of this community. The cheapest land I bought was N500,000. It is my personal business, and I tell you, the easiest way to become rich is to go into farming.
“Most of the richest people across the world are farmers, so herdsmen should also be encouraged to get land and ranch their cows as this will put an end to the constant clashes between farmers and herdsmen,” Chigbo said.
Another ranch in the state is the Eagle Food Processing Industries, located at Umuchu in Aguata Local Government Area of the State, with Prince Ugochukwu Okpalaeke, as the founder and Managing Director.
Commissioner for Agriculture, Mechanisation Processing and Export in Anambra State Hon. Nnamdi Onukwuba, had during a visit to the farm, pledged government readiness to provide aids for farmers willing to go into full scale cattle breeding with emphasis on breeding Igbo specie cow popularly known as Efi Igbo.
He said the Obiano-led administration was ready to make livestock grazing a serious business most especially rearing of the Igbo cow.
He added that government was already making plans to expand cattle grazing across the local government areas in the State.
Also speaking, chairman, Nigeria Union of journalists (NUJ) in the state, Comrade Emmanuel Ifesinachi, appealed for government continued support to farmer’s to ensure food security in the state.
Ifesinachi, while leading a team of reporters to Nkeonyemetalu Farms and Agro Ventures, noted that agriculture remained the only remedy to the lingering economic instability in the country.
He stressed the need to boost agricultural development by encouraging small, medium and large scale farmers in the country, through provision of financial support, access roads, electricity and pipe born water.
On his part, Special Assistant to the Governor on Agriculture, Mr. Cyril Nwobu reassured that the Willie Obiano-led government was doing its best in making agriculture the major source of revenue generation which would in turn improve the living standard of the