By Ifeanyi Nwoko
In a 26-page report released on Tuesday, with the report by ICG’s Senior Communications Officer for Africa, Nicolas Delaunay, the Brussels-based organisation said that apart from ending the farmer/herder clashes, the NLTP will also boost livestock production.
The ICG noted however that two years into the project which is scheduled to last for 10 years, the plan was faced with numerous challenges and no sign of meeting the deadline.
“The plan’s major challenges include inadequate political leadership in promoting the plan, low awareness among herders and persistent misgivings among farming communities as well as delays and uncertainties in the funding of activities and projects.
“Other challenges are lack of expertise in federal and state agriculture ministries, for establishing and managing ranches and grazing reserves, as well as widespread insecurity in many states, which is constraining access to some designated project sites.
“The situation, the report notes, has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic which delayed implementation activities in 2020 and also undercut federal and state revenues.
“If governments fail to address these challenges urgently, they could delay or even scuttle the plan, leaving the country vulnerable to an escalation of herder-farmer conflict, which could degenerate into wider ethnic, regional and religious violence,” it said.
As a way out, the ICG urged government at federal and state level to provide stronger political leadership and step-up public communication in order to improve awareness, dispel misgivings and increase buy-in to the plan.
It also pointed out that addressing insecurity, curbing impunity and rehabilitating communities adversely affected by herder-farmer-related violence in participating states, are vital to creating a secure environment for progress on the plan.
“The group urges Federal and state governments to improve on budgetary commitments, expedite the release of funds for projects, and also liaise with international development partners for donor funding and capacity building
“Budgetary commitment should be made especially for managing ranches and grazing reserves, and also for ramping up dairy production, meat processing and logistics services.
“In preparation for the two million new jobs which the NLTP expects to be created down the livestock value chain, ICG calls on the federal government to avail pastoralists’ children training programs that would enable them key into the anticipated job opportunities.
“In order to ensure the NLTP is sustained through its projected ten-year span, ICG urges federal and state authorities to give the plan firm legal and funding bases, through new legislation establishing livestock sector transformation agencies, as the Plateau state government is already doing,” it said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NLTP is a scheme adopted by the National Executive Council (NEC) on Jan. 18, 2019.
It is an initiative designed to partner with interested state governments to provide land for livestock farmers to practice their profession.
Through this programme, livestock farmers, including the controversial Fulani herders (and their employers), will have access to land for ranching. (NAN)
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