22 governors apply, as FG disburses model Ruga ranch funds next week

Twenty-two States have written to the Federal Government to indicate interest in the National Livestock Transformation Programme, (NLTP).

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Agriculture, Andrew Kwasari, who also coordinates the NLTP, disclosed this in an interview on Tuesday, adding that the Federal Government would start disbursing funds for model ranches in the next one week.

According to him, States whose governors have written the Federal Government include, Kaduna, Benue, Taraba, Adamawa, Plateau, Zamfara, Kano, Ondo, Katsina, Bauchi, Yobe, Borno, Gombe, Nasarawa, Niger, Sokoto, Ekiti, Kogi, Ebonyi and Kwara.

Following incessant clashes between farmers and herders, the Federal Government in 2018 came up with various ranching models, including Ruga and the NLTP, to settle nomadic herdsmen, who are mostly Fulani.

Recall that on Sunday, the President’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, in a write-up in response to a story published by The Economist of London, said the Federal Government’s ranching programme had reduced insecurity in the country in the last 12 months. He, therefore, urged State governors who had not embraced the scheme, to do so.

Although Kwasari did not specify the amount that would be disbursed, the presidential aide said two of the States, Nasarawa and Plateau would be getting financial support from the Federal Government for the establishment of model ranches in about a week.

He said Adamawa and Kaduna were among the 10 States that had established offices and prepared for the programme.

The presidential aide explained that the model ranches would be used to train pastoralists and help them build their own ranches. He noted that some people had described the NLTP as another Ruga project.

Animals in the ranches will not be allowed to leave the facility all year round, while households will send in representatives, who will be trained in the model ranches in the pilot States.

Kwasari noted that once the pastoralists were able to get feed and water for their livestock, they would have no business moving cattle from one State to another.

When contacted, the Ondo State Government confirmed that it had submitted its business plan to the NLTP.

The Special Adviser to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu on Agriculture and Agric-business, Akin Olotu, said the decision was in response to the Presidency asking the governors to provide land for ranching.

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