Yesterday, the Delta Cattle Dealers Association known as Miyetti Allah demanded 30,000 square meters of land in each of the 25 local governments as cattle breeding grounds and markets.
The group spoke at a public hearing in Asaba, Delta State’s capital, on a Bill for a Law to Regulate Livestock Breeding, Rearing, and Marketing, as well as to Prohibit Open Grazing and Related Matters.
About 12 memoranda from state government agencies and cattle industry stakeholders were presented at the hearing, which was organized by the Delta State House of Assembly Joint Committee on Special Bills and Agriculture and Natural Resources.
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The draft bill’s 5,000 square meters designated as grazing grounds, according to the paper signed by the association’s Chairman, Alhaji Musa Shuwa, was severely inadequate because of the facilities envisaged in the areas.
According to Shuwa, the association currently operates livestock (cattle) markets in seven towns across the state, the smallest of which is located on a parcel of land covering approximately 4,500 square meters and the largest on approximately 7,000 square meters.
“This is only for the purposes of the markets. In addition, each market receives at least 800 cattle per week. Our members rarely sell all of their cattle in the market, necessitating the use of grazing to feed the animals.
“With the intendment of the draft of this bill being to ban open grazing, it is our respectful view that to have cattle within enclosed grazing (for the purpose of ranching) area will mean that a large space of area is needed for this purpose.
“While we acknowledge that the 5,000 square metres mentioned in Section 8(2a) is only in the minimum, it is our modest view that even in the minimum, 5,000 square metres of land may not be the best starting point.
“We, therefore, recommend that to practically satisfy having an abattoir, veterinary clinic, livestock market, administrative office and security post as provided in Section 2(b) to (g), Section 2(a) should provide that the designated area shall comprise a minimum of 30,000 square metres of land,” he said.
The Chairman of the joint committee, Mrs. Pat Ajudua, said the public hearing was to garner the inputs of the public, particularly major stakeholders in the making of the proposed law.