The Ekiti State Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince Olabode Adetoyi, on Thursday, hinged the diminishing food production in the state and indeed Nigeria on insecurity, which had kept many farmers away from the farms.

Adetoyi said the registration of herders and farmers in the state, apart from being an opportunity to fish out criminal elements, would ensure security of lives and property and increase food production.

Adetoyi, who spoke in Ado Ekiti during the commencement of the registration of herdsmen and farmers in the state, warned that stiff penalties awaited anyone who refused to register and get the identity card in line with the stipulations of the state Anti-Grazing Law.

The occasion was attended by government officials, traditional rulers and the leaderships of herders, farmers and various ethnic nationalities, including the Fulani, Hausa, Ebira and Igede, among others.

The commissioner said other steps being taken by the state government to ensure lasting peace between herders and farmers, included ban on night grazing and using under-aged herders in Ekiti State.

He stated, “I will implore the herders not to run afoul of the Anti-Grazing Law. Part of the essence of the registration is to increase food security in Ekiti State. Food rate is just growing at 2.5 per cent; while our population is increasing at 2.8 to three per cent, the food requirement is at three to 3.2 per cent.

“The essence of this now is that there is a demand and supply gap, which we need to close. What is causing it is insecurity and we want to tackle it headlong in Ekiti State so that people can be able to go back to the farms and produce in higher quantity.

“In Ekiti State now, under the National Livestock Transformation Plan, we are bringing back our cattle ranch settlements at Oke Ako and Irele for whoever wants to graze their cattle. They will register there and provision will be made over there too.

“We want peace in Ekiti and with this registration, we are forging ahead to ensure permanent peace between herders and crop farmers.”

Source: PUNCH