By Chinyere Ogbonna – Sokoto State Government, in northern Nigeria has announced plans to inaugurate the Sokoto State Cattle Breeding Project, the largest in West Africa in May this year. Sokoto State Commissioner for Animal Health and Fisheries Development, Alhaji Tukur Alkali, made this known during a tour of the project site.
Alhaji Alkali said the project would improve the genetics of local cattle breeds by ensuring more milk and beef production, and equip livestock farmers with modern production techniques. He said the project would go a long way in addressing the incessant farmers-herdsmen clashes in parts of Nigeria and some neighbouring West African countries.
According to the Commissioner, “The government has spent N2.8 billion on the project inherited from the immediate past administration of Alhaji Aliyu A Wamakko.
He said a total of N1.5 billion had been spent on key aspects of the project such as the purchase of Argentinian cattle for cross-breeding, construction, training of personnel, provision of security and other logistics, while N1.3 billion was expended on the procurement of equipment for the project.
“We hope to not only empower our farmers, but also impart modern knowledge on mechanised farming and cattle breeding techniques. About 13 cluster farms will 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 said.
Alhaji Alkali noted that the state government signed contract with an Argentine company, South American Breeding Technologies (SABT), in 2010 for the establishment of a cattle breeding, milk and beef production factory.
According to Alhaji Alkali, under the N2billion agreement, SABT would train farmers, introduce modern practices in agriculture, as well as embark on the introduction of genetic procedure, meat processing and milking machines.