By Najem Francis, Sokoto
The multi-billion naira Sokoto State Cattle Breeding Project scheduled for inauguration in May this year is a model of a long term strategy required to end the incessant farmers/herdsmen clashes across Nigeria and some West African countries, the Commissioner for Animal Health and Fisheries Development, Alhaji Tukur Alkali has said.
Conducting journalists round the project sites in Sokoto and Rabah LGAs of the state, Alkali said the project would improve the genetics of local cattle breeds by ensuring higher milk and beef production while at the same time empowering farmers with modern technique of livestock production.
“The government has spent N2.8 billion on the project which was inherited from the immediate past administration of Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko. Of the amount, N1.5 billion was spent on the supply of Argentinean cattle to be used for cross-breeding, construction, training of personnel, security and other logistics while another N1.3 billion was for the procurement of equipment for the project.
According to him, “about thirteen cluster farms would be established to be run by private entities. All the cattle breeds will graze in these fields. We will also provide research centre and laboratory, veterinary services among others,” he added.
The Sokoto state government had in 2010 signed a N2 billion contract with an Argentine firm, South American Breeding Technologies (SABT) for the establishment of a cattle breeding, milk and beef production factory.
Based on the agreement, SABT will train and bring revolutionary changes in agriculture, genetic procedure, meat processing and milking machine.