By Dr. Dons Eze
We welcome the decision by the Enugu State government under the leadership of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to embark on immediate construction of ultra-modern Efi Igbo cattle ranch in the state, and see it as an innovation, a novelty, worthy of emulation.
For long, we have been living in self-denial, abandoning what we have, to embrace, or to promote other people’s products. That is why our local industries hardly grow, and why many of them die prematurely, since people are not encouraged to support or patronize them, but prefer to go for foreign goods, rather than patronize local products.
Briefing newsmen at the end of the State Executive Council meeting in Enugu, the State Commissioner for Information, Nnanyelugo Chidi Aroh, said the council had considered and approved a memorandum from the State Ministry of Agriculture for the construction and development of an ultra-modern Efi Igbo Cattle Ranch.
According to the commissioner, the construction of Efi Igbo Cattle Ranch would encourage mass production and ranching of indigenous breed of cattle to meet the ever increasing demand for beef and allied products in the state.
This is a welcome development, which is capable of not only helping to reposition the South East as a major market for cattle and diary products, but also at ensuring that this particular specie of cattle did not go into extinction.
In years days gone by, only Efi Igbo was used to celebrate traditional Igbo festivals and in funeral ceremonies of notable Igbo dignitaries. But nowadays, we choose to turn tradition upside down by using Efi Awusa to perform these rites, which seems to be responsible for the virtual extinction of this breed of cattle since people no longer patronize them.
We hope that our forefathers are right now turning in their graves when we choose to bastardize many of our cultures, just as if we were to use Oji Awusa (Gworo) to perform traditional rituals!
Beyond this, however, the construction of Efi Igbo Cattle ranch in Enugu State will go a long way in curbing the incessant menace of Fulani cattle-rearers in different parts of the state. This is because, if through Efi Igbo Cattle Ranch we can get all our required beef and diary products, what will we be doing with Efi Awusa? Some people even testify that Efi Igbo is sweeter and more nutritious than Efi Awusa!
The construction of Efi Igbo Cattle Ranch by the state government will also encourage many people to start rearing of native cattle. Thus, when there is enough local production of meat from the Efi Igbo cattle ranch, nobody will tell the muderous Fulani cattlemen to pack their bags and baggage and return to where they came from. This is because many people would no longer patronize them.
In that way, we would have succeeded in using one stone to kill two birds, that is, providing enough meat for local consumption, and doing away with frequent cases of Fulani herdsmen attacks in our various communities.
In other words, if every state in the South East will emulate Enugu State government and set up Efi Igbo cattle ranch in their respective states, the zone will not only become self-sufficient in the production of food meat, but will at the same time become free from incessant herdsmen attacks in the zone.
In the same vein, the Enugu State Efi Igbo Cattle Ranch would have led the way in cattle ranching in the country, and belie the notion by certain people who thought that ranching is not possible in Nigeria, in this time and age.