Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State yesterday presented documents of 15, 000 hectares of land earmarked for cattle colony to the Federal Government.
Presenting the acceptance document to Agriculture Minister, Audu Ogbeh, Bello said the state would pilot the cattle colony programme.
The governor said that 15,000 hectares of land have been mapped out in two local government areas of the state for cattle colony.
Bello said 10,000 hectares of land had been earmarked for cattle colony in Ajaokuta Local Government Area and 5,000 hectares in Adavi Local Government Area.
According to him, the quest to key into the programme was to accommodate the youth, herdsmen and farmers without conflicts and add value to the economic wellbeing of the people.
The governor said the state and its people were ready to ensure the success of the initiative. He explained that the state government would gradually pay compensation to citizens that donated their land for the programme.
According to him, the state has budgeted sufficient fund to ensure the smooth take-off of the programme in the areas of security and equipment.
“This is about courage. We have an estimated population of 19.5 million cattle now. If we have every individual keeping a ranch, it is an average population of 300 cows per herd. We need 1,711 ranches in every state, and 633,333 ranches in the country.
“The land belongs to states under the Land Use Act and we don’t have any intention to colonise them.
“I do hope that when the programme works, other states will key in,” the minister said.
On debates that cattle business is private and should not gain government’s support, Ogbeh said the government had also supported crops production in the country.
According to him, cattle contribute six per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).