The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has budgeted N2.258 billion for the implementation of the Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) scheme this year, according to Mr. Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate).
Enang made the disclosure while hosting Students of Nigerian Law School, Abuja from Akwa Ibom State, noting that the scheme was initiated in 1956 with the Obudu Cattle Ranch and the Yankari Games Reserve as the first of the RUGA program.
The presidential aide also assured that the scheme as widely believed is not aimed at Islamizing, fulanising or colonizing the country by anyway, but was intended to curb the ongoing Farmer/Herders conflict caused by encroachment and destruction of farmlands by cattle which have been a perennial problem.
He urged state governments especially the southern parts to provide land for the cattle settlement, adding that the scheme when fully implemented would have an integrated farm system furnished with basic amenities.
“Ruga program is an integrated farm system which will encompasses schools, good road, tractors and mechanization, agricultural integration with a provision for primary healthcare and veterinary clinics”, Enang added.
He also stated that an additional N300 million has been earmarked for water sanitation, N400 million for sweet potatoes development and N350 million for ginger processing have been appropriated for further agricultural development by the ministry.
He implored Nigerians against politicizing the RUGA scheme as a whole.
While speaking, the students thanked the presidential aide for enlightening them on the scheme where they promised to enlighten those around them who may be willing to listen; together we can make a great country he said.