CATTLE RANCHING AS A PANACEA TO HERDSMEN CRISIS IN NIGERIA
CATTLE RANCHING AS A PANACEA TO HERDSMEN CRISIS IN NIGERIA
It is no longer news that there is a conflict between herdsmen and farmers in Benue state and other parts of Nigeria, which has resulted in the loss of hundreds of lives and property in the state.
The conflict of interest between ranchers and farmers about open grazing can be attributed to the architect of this conflict. Many stakeholders in the region believe that establishing cattle ranching is the answer to this hazardous scenario.
In light of this, the researcher conducted this study to assess the efficacy of ranching as a solution to Nigeria's Fulani herdsmen crisis.
1.1 Background of the Study
Stakeholders have mentioned ranching and the transfer of beef rather than cattle as solutions to the country's ongoing confrontations between Fulani herders and farmers.
Over the years, there have been several skirmishes between herdsmen and farmers in Benue state and other parts of the country, resulting in the loss of life and property, as well as the displacement of many more from their homes.
The conflicts are quickly becoming ugly and a huge blight for the nation, pleading with the federal government to intervene immediately. Since the beginning of the year, at least ten recorded cases have occurred, and the administration has yet to release a specific plan to combat the pandemic.
According to a March 9 publication in the Daily Independent, the activities of these herders, if not restrained, could lead to violence, which is not beneficial for the country at the moment.
They advocated for the development of ranches so that herders could feed their cattle in a confined location rather than roaming them around and ruining people's farmland.
According to Mr. Emmanuel Ijewere, Coordinator of the Nigeria Agribusiness Group (NABG), the government should persuade herders that livestock lose weight when they wander around and gain weight when they stay in one spot. He added that they should be convinced that the clashes are not in their best interests, and that farmers will continue to resist and fight back.
Ijewere specifically recommended the government to provide adequately defined grazing places with water, emphasising that the government must adopt a policy of moving meat rather than cattle.
“The government must develop a policy that encourages the movement of meat rather than cattle. That policy eliminates abattoirs in major cities such as Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Benin City.
“We will slaughter the cattle closer to where they are raised; this will reduce all these confrontations. It is possible to transfer more beef than cattle if the process is more structured.
That is what industrialised countries do,” he said, adding, “We are not the only ones who eat beef in the world, but other countries do not move cattle in the same way we do. They move the livestock irresponsibly, which is one of the reasons for the confrontations.”
Similarly, Anga Sotonye, National Publicity Secretary of the National Cashew Association of Nigeria, stated that the government should establish a spot where these herders can reside, feed, and raise their cattle without having to move them from Kano to Lagos.
The Fulani are unquestionably an important part of Nigeria's economy. They are the largest cow breeders, the primary source of beef, and the most readily available and inexpensive source of animal proteins consumed by Nigerians.
The Fulani own more than 90% of the country's livestock population, accounting for one-third of agricultural GDP and 3.2% of national GDP (Eniola, 2007).
The Fulani's importance to the local food chain and national food security cannot be overstated. The Fulani, who dominate the Sahel region, are Nigeria's most well-known and numerous pastoral communities.
The orthodox Fulbe settlement's natural habitat is the traditional and unique Fulani encampment (ruga), which consists of temporary structures built of stalks, tightly bonded family members, and animals.
Because the state cannot manage its citizens' mutual coexistence in the harmonious sharing of competing resources, the parties may have to resolve to fight between themselves with no retreat, no surrender, and for survival of the fittest.
The state's failure, for example, to address the'settler/indigene' identity and the inherent fights over resources can be attributed to dangerous economic and political components in the Fulani pastoralists and farmers' conflicts (Fiki and Lee, B. 2004: 24-48).
Issues of local community security, safety, and growth are critical in improving governance and reducing or increasing agitation for resource control as well as encroaching on others' rights. All of this has ramifications for survival and conflict within or within communities.
Again, local resistance to state policies is critical in resource utilisation through the development of community capacity to manage resources and resolve conflicts. Thus, security serves as a framework for intervention and conflict resolution. Conflicts are unavoidable because insecurity creates opportunities for conspiracy.
The primary goal of security is to enhance the well-being and assets of the individuals concerned; the survival of the state comes second. In other words, when the state's character and nature do not appear to safeguard people' security, their freedom and options shift entirely away from the state and towards individuals or organisations as security foci.
The extent of Fulbe pastoralism in Nigeria is unknown. Fulbe is thought to have begun to settle on the plains of Bauchi Emirate, which extended into the grassland of the Jos Plateau (Morrison, 1982, as referenced in Blench, 2010:4).
Conflicts between pastoralists and farmers have existed since the beginning of agriculture, and their intensity and frequency vary according on economic, environmental, and other circumstances.
For example, as herd sizes increased due to improved cattle conditions, pastoralists were forced to seek out larger pastures beyond their limited area. Climate change has posed a significant concern by putting considerable strain on the land, resulting in disputes between them.
However, advances in human health and population have resulted in far more strain on land. Since the 1980s, there has been a significant increase in farming of the fadama (reverine and valley bottom) areas.
This implies that both farmers and pastoralists have fought fiercely for access to such precious grounds, frequently resulting in increasing conflict and violence. Prof. James Ayatse, the Tor Tiv, stated that establishing ranches was the only solution to the country's repeated disputes between farmers and herders.
Ayatse made the remarks on Friday in Abuja during a two-day National Security Summit.
He stated that managing the movement of the herdsmen would be difficult, and that it was only possible on paper. According to Ayatse, the adoption of ranches would benefit the country by creating job opportunities for Nigerians. He stated that ranching would not impede the free movement of herdsmen, especially if they were going through a specific state.
“If you allow free movement without control, you put everybody at risk and this is what we are seeing in Benue, ranching is part of the control,“he said. The Tor Tiv stated that building ranches did not violate the ECOWAS Treaty on free movement of persons in the sub-region, as previously considered.
He stated that a committee in his area had been formed in collaboration with the police to detect “bad eggs” and turn them over to the police. According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN),
the Benue House of Assembly recently passed a bill restricting open grazing while allowing ranches to be established in the state. The bill is titled “Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law, 2017.”
1.2 Statement of the Problem
In Nigeria, the Fulani tribe is virtually completely responsible for cattle herding. Iro (1994) provided a vivid record of the Fulani herding system in Nigeria, and the majority of the information presented is based on his account.
According to him, herding is a difficult task, and contrary to popular assumption, the Fulani do not enjoy herding; they do so out of necessity rather than choice.
In the same way that herders care for their cattle because of necessity, farmers value their crops not because they are necessary, but because they are essential to survival. Against this context, the researcher decided to study the efficacy of cattle ranching as a solution to Nigeria's herdsmen crisis.
1.3 Object of the Study
The basic objective of this study is to evaluate the usefulness of cattle ranching as a remedy to herdsmen conflicts in Nigeria; nevertheless, to aid in the successful completion of the study, the researcher intends to achieve the following particular goal:
i) Determine the role of cattle ranching in combating the herdsmen/farmers crisis in Benue state.
ii) Investigate the advantages of ranching over open grazing in cattle production.
iii) To investigate the impact of open crazing on farm produce in Benue State.
iv) Determine whether there is a relationship between cattle ranching and cow colonies.
1.4 research Hypotheses
The researcher developed the following research hypotheses to ensure that the study was completed effectively:
H0: Cattle ranching does not play a substantial impact in reducing herdsmen farmer problems in Benue state, Nigeria.
H1: Cattle ranching plays a crucial influence in reducing herdsmen farmer problems in Benue, Nigeria.
H02: Cattle ranching has no advantage over open grazing in terms of farmer-herdsmen crises in Benue State.
H2: Cattle ranching has an advantage over open grazing in terms of farmer-herder crises in Benue state.
1.5 Significance of the Study
It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of great importance to the house committee on agriculture and the federal ministry of agriculture as the study seeks to enumerate the numerous benefits of cattle ranching over open grazing as this will help in policy formation.
The study will also be of importance to the security operatives as the findings of the study will help them strategize to curb the menace of herdsmen farmers conflict in Benue state.
Finally, the study will be very useful to reporters, academics, students, teachers, and the general public because it will add to the current literature and contribute to the body of information in the field.
1.6 Scope and Limitations of the Study
The scope of the study covers cow ranching as a solution to the herdsmen conflict in Benue state. However, there are some constraints that limited the scope of the study.
a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The researcher has insufficient research material, which limits the investigation.
b) time: The study's time frame does not allow for broader coverage because the researcher must balance other academic activities and examinations with the study.
c) Finance: The study's funding was a major restraint on its scope, as the researcher has limited resources to combine research work and other academic involvement.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
Cattle, or cows, are the most prevalent type of big domesticated ungulate. They are a major modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, the most widely distributed species of the genus Bos, and are most usually grouped collectively as Bos Taurus.
a man who cares after a big number of animals of the same species.
A ranch is a plot of land with numerous structures dedicated primarily to the activity of ranching, which involves the production of grazing livestock such as cattle or sheep for meat or wool.
A crisis is any incident that will lead to an unstable and dangerous scenario impacting an individual, group, community, or the entire society.
1.8 Organisation of the Study
This research study is organised into five chapters for simple understanding, as follows:
The first chapter is concerned with the introduction, which includes the (overview of the study), statement of problem, aims of the investigation, research hypotheses, relevance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of words, and the study's historical context.
The second chapter focuses on the theoretical framework that underpins the study, as well as a review of relevant literature. Chapter three discusses the research design and technique used in the study.
Chapter four focuses on data gathering, analysis, and presenting of findings. Chapter 5 provides a summary, conclusion, and suggestions from the study.