Home » COLUMN;Herdsmen/Farmers’ Debacle & The Ranch-Grazing Land Alternative

COLUMN;Herdsmen/Farmers’ Debacle & The Ranch-Grazing Land Alternative

By Tunji Suleiman=
A ranch-grazing land hybrid can address the herdsmen vs farmers debacle, and mitigate, possibly end the violence.
This proposal will keep herds off farmlands & also address the grazing needs of Herdsmen, thereby keeping both herders and farmers happy.
State governments will be pivotal to its success and will also benefit in tax revenue and increased peace and security in their domains.
It’s not complicated and can also build goodwill, trust, cooperation, tolerance and respect for the rights of our compatriots.

State governments only need to redefine and extend the existing concept of agricultural land to include ranches and grazing land. Essentially, states will allow herders to apply for and procure ranch and grazing land, same way farmers are allocated agricultural land.
Large hectares of Agricultural land is being provided to farmers and even privileged non-farmers at non-commercial rates. I personally know beneficiaries of this scheme in at least Oyo, Ogun and Kwara states. I’m sure this scheme exists in other states.
Individual rearers, with large herds up to a certain size, say 500, 1000, etc to apply for ranch land up to 5, 10 hectares etc.
As it will be provided by governments at rates aimed at encouraging ranching, the title will be ranching specific.

The title will be restrictive and monitored to ensure a beneficiary cannot commercialize it by e.g. converting it for real estate.
Small rearers with below say 500 animals can form cooperatives to procure ranch-grazing land, under the same title arrangements.
Livestock departments should exist in state agricultural ministries to assist herders just like extant extension services to farmers.

Governments can also provide other service like veterinary expertise, improved grasses, improved breeds and stocks, etc. Governments should provide infrastructure & enabling environment for private providers of roads, water schemes, markets, abattoirs, etc.

For this, governments can charge fees, levies and rates for land use and for other services rendered.
In this way, whether a rearer or group of rearers have 10 or 10,000 animals, all will find accommodation.
This must then be strengthened with orientation and enlightenment programs to discourage nomadic herding and encourage settlement.

Legislation of the type proposed by Gov Fayose of Ekiti can then be explored, pursued & enforced to discourage the current crisis-prone herding. This will solve the herdsmen-farmers violence and as well increase and improve both livestock and agricultural output.

A win-win solution that generate wealth, promote settlement , improve education and enlightenment among the erstwhile opposed farmers and herders. It will also encourage non-Fulani people interested in cattle rearing to see it not only as a backward culture but as a viable business.
It will deepen the livestock sector, generate & improve allied businesses, create employment, reduce poverty and foster peace & security

Tunji Suleiman, an IT/Telecoms expert and entrepreneur is passionate about entrepreneurship development as a vehicle for  reducing poverty in Nigeria and beyond. He is also on the board of SECURITY MONITOR and will be constant columnist on our OPINION AND COLUMS SECTION. He can be contacted through sms only; +234 8036692165

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