The Ondo State Government has reiterated that it is illegal for for herdsmen to encroach on its forest reserves without permission and graze on the farms which can destroy many of the farms.
The state Commissioner for Agricultural and Rural Development, Asiwaju Adegboyega Adefarati, disclosed on Wednesday, 20 January, 2021 through a press statement highlighting the reasons herdsmen were banned from the state Forest Reserves.
According to him, the Forest Reserves are meant for farming and to farm in the reserves, there are conditions to be met.
“Love it or leave it; farming is farming, be it crop production or animal husbandry. If any Nigerian irrespective of his/her State of origin desires land for farming in Government Forest Reserves, he/she must apply to Ondo State Ministry of Agriculture and pay the normal fee for the required hectares of land,” Adefarati said.
Below is the full statement from the Ondo State Commissioner for Agricultural and Rural Development, Asiwaju Adegboyega Adefarati:
As the Commissioner for Agriculture in Ondo State, it is pertinent and imperative to avail the general public of the policies of the State on forest reserves and conservation to lay to rest the unnecessary and unneeded arguments and reactions.
When our administration came on board in 2017, we discovered that over 70% of government reserves had been encroached by farmers. Many of whom desired the fertile, arable and virgin land to grow non-perennial crops. The previous administration of Mimiko arrested many and punitively punished them. A lot of the farmers irrespective of their States of origin served varying terms in jail, some paid heavy fines and many left their crops wastefully unharvested.
After diligent research and report on Ondo State Government Forest Reserves in 2018, we came up with a symbiotic policy of taungya system. With stiff adherence to all regulations that protect animals and trees, farmers are registered to farm on Ondo State Government Reserves. With this, if you desire to land to farm, you have to apply to Ondo State Ministry of Agriculture and the government after considering your application, shall grant the considered hectares of land in which you are regulated to do your legal and legitimate farming.
In retrospect, we have registered over fifty (50,000) thousands of farmers who engage in different forms of agricultural activities in Ondo State Government Forest Reserves. With this, we regulate their activities and reduce criminality as we interface daily with farmers.
Love it or leave it; farming is farming, be it crop production or animal husbandry. If any Nigerian irrespective of his/her State of origin desires land for farming in Government Forest Reserves, he/she must apply to Ondo State Ministry of Agriculture and pay the normal fee for the required hectares of land. It is illegal for herdsmen to encroach Ondo State Government Forest Reserves without permission and graze on the farms, many of which will be destroyed.
Let me say it again and again that no activity (hunting, planting crops and animal rearing) can be done in Ondo State Forest Conservation without permission. The laws guiding Ondo State Forest are clear and concise on it.
Asiwaju Adegboyega Adefarati
Commissioner for Agricultural and Rural Development