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Gates’ survey prescribes pastoralist model to end conflicts


Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta

A Study by Synegos Nigeria, a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supported programme, has proposed the establishment of an integrated crop and livestock settlement nationwide to end the frequent conflicts between farmers and herdsmen in parts of the federation.

Conducted by dons from the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta and Bayero University Kano in Kogi, Benue and Kaduna states, the survey explained that the crop/livestock settling model entails farmers and herdsmen coming together to do business.

The experts, who spoke during a validation workshop on controlled grazing organised yesterday by Synergos in Abuja, said the concept was accepted by farmers and herdsmen in Kogi and Kaduna, noting that it results in a symbiotic relationship.

According to Prof. Abba Aminu of the Department of Agric Economics, Bayero University, the idea was to ensure that farmers and livestock owners settle in one community in such a way that the pastoralist would be getting crop residues from his neighhbour while the cattle on the other hand ploughs the field and fetches water, among other duties.He hinted that the agro/pastoralist model was similar to the cattle colony proposal of the Federal Government but with a slight variation.

The expert urged extensive public enlightenment engagement of relevant stakeholders on the model for an amicable solution to the crisis.The dons also stressed the need to organise the pastoralists, noting that the cause of the conflict in the first place was the uncoordinated movement of cows and lack of a comprehensive policy acceptable to all.

The Country Director, Synergos Nigeria, Adewale Ajadi, tasked the media on balanced reportage of the crisis, stressing the need to map out policies, organise and control the herdsmen as well as define how cattle is reared, mark out grazing areas and educate people in tune with the realities of the 21st century.

A grazing expert, Prof. Olufemi Onifade, argued that the establishment of cattle colonies might not resolve the farmers/herdsmen conflicts, adding that the policy should only be implemented where accepted.

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