With RUGA ‘laid to rest’, grass production business can make a difference

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If indications from the presidency at the time of writing this article are anything to go by, the RUGA initiative that generated some controversy in recent weeks may have been put to rest (temporarily or not). What is more important, however, is devising new and sustainable ways to get the cattle business thriving in Nigeria.

As reported by BusinessDay, with an estimated 19 million heads of cattle valued at over N1.9 trillion, the cattle business has potentials for significant growth, if cattle owners can develop independent ranches where they can commit their own funds to invest and meet international standards. At present, herdsmen, popularly of the Fulani extraction move cattle across thousands of kilometres from the north to the south, in search of pasture to graze. The north-south movement, and later the south-north movement in search of pasture, consistently leads to losing whatever weight has been gained during grazing periods, according to experts.

“When your cow in Nigeria marches from Adamawa to Lagos that is a little more than exercise, therefore we have to confine Nigerian cows in ranches,” remarked Audu Ogbeh, immediate past Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development at last year’s BusinessDay Agribusiness and Food Security Summit. Advocating what would be private sector-led and with full business intentions, Ogbeh explained that for a young person with just 20 milk cows behind the house, well secured, and fed with at least 10kg of fodder per day, and 40 litres of water, one can collect enough milk to be a very comfortable Nigerian without looking for a job.

The prospect of readily available grass to feed cows across the country has the potential to curb recurring violent clashes in different parts of the country between farmers and herdsmen. It will also see the value of cattle … Read More...