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FG seeks durable Farmer-Herder crisis remedy

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By Usman Oladimeji

Stakeholders must collaborate to put a stop to the farmer-herder clashes.

As the incessant farmer-herder crisis continues to loom across Nigeria, many lives and property have been lost, prompting coordinated and decisive intervention to curb the menace. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Dr. Mohammad Abubakar voiced this issue, saying that the country’s key stakeholders must collaborate to find a permanent solution to the farmer-herder clashes ravaging the country. According to him, the dispute poses a danger to the country’s sovereignty, food security, and national security at the present moment.

At the opening of a regional summit tagged “Promoting Peace and Climate Security in the Crop and Livestock farming Sectors,” the minister highlighted the summit’s significant impact, noting that it is essential in creating opportunity for deliberations and discourse on the path forward for reaching harmonious relationship between crop farmers and livestock. Abubakar claims the farmers and herders, both past and present, have had to face these challenges, with those living in rural areas having to deal with it the most as they have a better grasp of the problem and are more equipped to deal with it using traditional means.

Increased violence over scarce resources is a duly to climate change.

Further, the minister noted that the problem had taken on various facets, demanding insightful investigations into the origins of the escalated, unjustifiable assaults by farmer-herders in the dispute and new approaches to resolution. He claims there has been a new uptick in the age-old conflict, which can be traced back to the intricate interplay between the shifting availability and access to natural resources (land and water) in the area as a consequence of climate change.

The rapidly expanding population of people and animals, limited arable and grazing grounds, industrialization, unfavorable political influence, and weakening of age-old yet effective conflict management methods are further reasons. He says that the increased competitiveness and violence over scarce resources is a direct outcome of climate change. While Abubakar acknowledges that climate change did not directly cause the movement of herders to the south and center of Nigeria, he does claim that it has accelerated the exodus of herders from regions with more frequent drought and fewer natural resources to the south forest zone, where they can better care for their livestock.

Government is keen on replenishing the sub-regional lake.

The minister mentioned an instance of the northeastern part of Nigeria, where the loss of water in the oasis in the arid Lake Chad is devastatingly impacting the daily lives of more than 45 million people living in the Basin. Many people near the lake rely on it for their livelihood, including farmers, fishermen, and cattle rearers. The depletion of Lake Chad is a significant contributor to the regional problem, which has seen fishermen, farmers, and herders compete for scarce supplies.

Terrorist acts of Boko Haram in the area, banditry and abduction for ransom have only made matters worse, spreading to other regions of Nigeria and neighboring countries. However, he argues that the Nigerian government is keen on replenishing the sub-regional lake and halting its further shrinking so it may revert to its former splendor. The administration made many requests to international organizations, development partners, and other African and worldwide allies in an attempt to alleviate the crisis.

Emphasizing the summit’s significant importance.

Abubakar claims that Nigeria’s and West Africa’s livestock industry is vital to the sustaining employment of millions of people via its many value chains. Thus, he urged the summit to conceptualize, analyze, and commiserate as national and regional main players in the livestock industry and climate security sector to promote regional peace and climate security in the livestock sector. Meanwhile, the summit was organized in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

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