Challenges of herdsmen-livestock farmers and crop farmers in Nigeria
Herder-farmer conflict is wide spread and a big challenge to livestock production in Nigeria. Pastoralist in conflict with farming communities has been on the rise. The major farmers of livestock in Nigeria are the Fulanis. Despite the frequent conflict which now characterize the farmers herdsmen relations in Nigeria. Farmers and herdsmen have co-existed over the centuries in peace and harmony.
Pastoralist has over the centuries depended on foliage from farmers for their cattle and staple food while farmers depend on dung manure for their farms while meat and dairy products from cattle. This relationship has been there for centuries, spiced with harmony and understanding between the two groups.
This complementary relationship has now given way to conflict that has on many occasions threatened the cooperate existence of the nigerian state to the brink of disintegration. This is as a result of the assumed frequent killings by fulani herdsmen who allegedly carry guns rather than the usual sticks they use to lead their cattle.
On the other hand, farmers are asking for a more modern way of cattle rearing and that this method of herdsmen moving their livestock over their farms is old and obsolete thereby causing damage to their crops, which are often times trampled upon. The damage they say is enormous which include uprooting of crops.
While herdsmen believe that crazing has been an age old method of livestock farming which has been handed over to them from time immemorial. So restricting them now to a certain space or area means war and a bridge on their fundamental right as a people.
In conclusion, the Nigerian government should take adequate steps toward ending this feud by providing ranching settlements that is affordable for livestock farmers while they remain under the supervision of the state.