From: Bamidele Fashube, Abuja
Some stakeholders in the agricultural sector have lauded the `Sahel Model’ in Oyo, adjudging it to be a potential enduring solution to the lingering farmers/herders conflict in the country.
Sahel Model is a fodder/dairy development initiative designed to create a symbiotic relationship between farmers and herders in the state through market linkages, according to officials.
The stakeholders expressed their opinions at the 5th meeting of the consultative committee on federal and state agricultural policies alignment in Abuja at the weekend.
The meeting was hosted by Synergos, a non-governmental organisation, in furtherance of its State Partnership for Agriculture (SPA) project supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The verdict came after officials of the Oyo State Government, led by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Atilola Adewale, made presentations on the model at the forum.
In one of the presentations, the Director of Livestock Services in the ministry, Mr Odedele Oluwole, shed light on the model and its implementation strategies in the state.
He explained that the initiative was part of the National Dairy Development Programme (NDDP) being implemented in Oyo that had seen the establishment of five milk collection centres in different parts of the state.
He stated that the NDDP was being implemented under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement between the Oyo State Government and two companies.
The companies are leading milk producer, FrieslandCampina WAMCO, and Sahel Capital Partners and Advisory Limited, an agricultural extension service provider.
Oluwole explained that the model involved the engagement of local farmers by Sahel in commercial production of fodder, which they sell to the herders.
The herders, in turn, sell the raw milk produced by their cows to FrieslandCampina WAMCO at the collection centres established in their settlements.
“After the fodder matures, the farmers are now linked with either off-takers or directly with the herders, and they sell the fodder in kilogrammes.
“Sahel has also linked up with the NDDP, such that when the herders sell their milk, the money realised is used to buy fodder, thus creating market linkages for both parties,” Oluwole said.
Wrapping up the presentations, the permanent secretary said the model had drastically reduced herders/farmers conflict in areas hosting the milk collection centres.
Adewale identified Fasola, Maya, Alaga, Iseyin and Saki as the five communities currently hosting the centres.
“Everybody has a business that is fetching them income, besides the harmonious relationship it has created between the herders and farmers.
“Since it is a win-win situation for them, nobody is ready for any form of trouble in places where the model is being implemented,” said.
Some of the stakeholders that the hailed the model include Mr Muhammed Adamu and Dr Thompson Abi, the Benue and Kano State Directors, respectively, of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Adamu and Abi said the Oyo example held great promises in the national search for a permanent solution to the herders/farmers conflict, hence the need for government at all levels to give it attention. (NAN)