By Raymond Gukas, Jos
Plateau State had earmarked Wase and Kanam local government areas for the pilot phase of the proposed grazing reserves.
Already, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with two companies has been signed by the state government and the companies which will be under the National Livestock Transformation Program (NLTP).
At the ceremony, Governor Simon Lalong hinted that seven grazing reserves where agreed upon for the purpose across the state, but for now, only two shall commence operations.
According to him, the initiative is gradually becoming a reality after the initial setbacks occasioned by misinformation, politicization and skepticism that drew unnecessary resistance” from a section of the community which, he assured that as a governor, he won’t initiate any policy that will not be advantagious to Plateau.
The governor stressed that the earlier fears in certain quarters have now been dispelled as the program has since been accepted by the farmers, herders and the business community.
Lalong said “when the NLTP was initiated, it was erroneously misinterpreted by those who wanted to play politics and discredit it. I told my people that as their Governor, I can never bring anything that will cause them pain and poverty.
“I was in the NLTP Committee, I understood clearly that Plateau State will not only benefit from it, but will use it to create jobs and address the farmer herder attacks which almost destroyed the peace“ of which the state was known for.
The governor added that the State which is among the five selected for the pilot phase will benefit from the 15 billion that has been earmarked, using a purely private sector led template.
Also commenting, the Senior Special Assistant Assistant to the President on agriculture and coordinator of the NLTP Andrew Kwasari said the programme has a lot of benefits to the country as it is comprehensive enough to cover all those involved in the Livestock industry with value chain addition.
The Secretary to the State Government, Danladi Abok Atu signed on behalf of the State Government while representatives of Sahel Consulting Agriculture and Nutrition Ltd. and Integrated Diaries signed for their companies, the two companies working on the project signed for their respective companies.
Among other things the companies are to develop infrastructure and facilitate the establishment of diary, meat, foliage and related companies that will cut across various livestock species. They will also facilitate human capacity development of the local citizens who are expected to drive the process.