By Cecilia Ijuo
Ga’ate (Nasarawa state) – The Nigeria Farmers Group and Cooperative Society (NFGCS), has launched a hydroponic fodder programme to ensure better feeding of cattle.
Mr Tedheke Retson, National Coordinator of the group, made this known in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at Ga’ate in Nasarawa State on Wednesday.
Retson, who spoke at the end of the unveiling of the programme, said it was part of efforts by the group to ensure proper feeding of cattle for meat and milk as well as limit open grazing that often lead to clash with farmers.
According to him, hydroponics is a method of growing plants in a water based, nutrient rich solution. It does not use soil but the root system.
“We are trying to see how we can get herdsmen to see the benefits of feeding their cattle in one place rather than open grazing.
“In this programme, we have a herdsman who is learning to grow grass every seven days without soil for their cattle.
“We localised the concept of growing grass, so the herdsman understands that he can build a hydroponic unit with wood and roofing sheets.
“He can use basket to plant the grass and not just that he can also use a borehole that will not cost too much to water the hydroponic unit to feed at least 200 cattle per day.
“We are giving the Fulani community around the farm centre a borehole, a hydroponic unit and baskets for them to begin to plant,” the said.
The coordinator said the hydroponic method of growing grass was more nutritious to cattle, and often produced more yield.
He said, “every one kilogramme of maize planted for instance, in seven days we will harvest over seven kilogramme of the seed, the stem and the leaves, forming high nutrient fresh food for the cow.”
Retson said besides establishment of the hydroponic programme, the NFGCS was working to ensure community integration, saying it was critical to tackling herders/farmers crisis in the country.
According to him, one of the things we did as a Ga’ate project was to bring all stakeholders in this community together and we told them that they will work with us on the farm. (NAN)