Cattle Ranching in Botswana Versus Cattle Grazing in Nigeria.
Botswana with a population of about 2.3 Million, is one of Africa’s richest countries- indeed, the World Bank ranks it the world’s leading performer in terms of per capita Gross Domestic Product growth (GDP).
The processing of beef, which accounts for 80% of agricultural production, is undertaken by the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) in its abattoirs in Lobatse (Africa’s largest). It is interesting to note, that over 95% of output is exported, mainly to South Africa, the U.K, and the European Economic Community, to which preferential access is enjoyed through the provisions of the Lome Conventions.
The BMC also runs a 4,000 -tonne capacity cold store in London and a corned-beef canning plant in Botswana.
Now, compare this modern day value addition cattle ranching and forward integration in Botswana to our primitive and archaic 15 century cattle grazing with its attendant destructive activities on both farmland crops, spreading of zoonoses diseases and the FGN’s mooting of the idea of introduction of cattle colony in every State of the Federation and the wanton destruction of lives and properties associated with activities of the herdsmen across the length and breath of Nigeria.
In order to guard against the breakdown of law and order and to return sanity to this country as a result of the adverse operations of the herdsmen which often result to the loss of innocent lives, the powers and leadership behind these herders, should work assiduously hard in quickly embracing the modern practice of Cattle Ranching.
After all the first Premier of the defunct Eastern Nigeria, Dr Michael Okpara, built the first cattle ranch in Nigeria- The Obudu Cattle Ranch in the late 50s/early 60s, in Obudu in present day Cross River State.
If the activities of these herdsmen and the frequent clashes with farmers are not nipped in the bud, Nigeria may be heading to crises of unimaginable dimension. A stitch in time, they say, saves nine.
This country is in dire need of peaceful coexistence, with the guarantee of prosperity, human rights, law and order, ethic and religious tolerance, safety and sanctity of human lives and properties. Which our leaders swore to uphold, upon their Swearing in at the various levels of government.