Crop producers are wailing and wary of their produce. The grazing of cattle in a sown farm: maize, groundnut, soybean, and other arable crops; have caused lots of havoc.
Commercial crop production is a huge and dicey investment; imagine after spending over six digits on land preparation alone, procurement of good seeds and planting, crop fertilization and protection; lots of cash have buried before the emergence of the first flower of the crop, not even the fruits to harvest. Some group of farmers, the herdsmen, will now unrepentantly allow their cattle to graze on the crops. It is unfair.
The menace of the herdsmen is a huge problem in Nigeria; it is now fervent in the daily news. The killings in various part of the country by the herdsmen is becoming uncontrollable, several lives and properties have been annihilated; several families have become derelict. It does not really look like what people think and presume; it is now dubbed a tribal war or perpetration of violence by some gruesome fellow.
The main aim of every business is to maximize profits; no business should hamper the progress of the other in the quest of reducing the cost of production. Both parties have to benefit from their labor without any cause for hassle or tussle. As the dry season is fast approaching, crop farmers are ready to combat the herdsmen in a biological way, through the planting of poisonous crops to repel the cattle. This is quite interesting but very dangerous.
Cattle and other ruminant animals eat anything green, irrespective of its palatability. Though the palatability of the crop may reduce the consumption, the fact still remains that cattle eat anything green.
Castor and Jatropha are among the poisonous plants farmer are willing to plant; castor is highly poisonous. If any livestock feeds on it, it can lead to its death. Imagine killing a herd of cattle; it is more hazardous. However, this issue can be managed amicably that both parties, the crop farmer and herdsmen, benefit immensely.
The crop farmers and herdsmen cannot resolve the issues themselves because a judge cannot judge his or her case. Also, coerciveness of any issue does not ameliorate it rather it deteriorates it. To resolve this issue, the two parties need a middle man.
This is where the attention of the government is needed. The government can assist both parties such that the two parties will be at par. The following are what the government needs to do to tie the rope of kinship of the herdsmen and the farmers in the country.
Proper orientation for both parties
The government needs to foster the love for one another in the country. The government needs to orientate the farmers in the country; everyone needs to love one another and abhor the shedding of blood. This is best done by religious leaders.
Also, the farmers have to be reminded that their profession is to serve humanity and not harm humanity. A cordial relationship between both parties is needed to get this done. Engage the extension agents with this duty and let’s see how it works.
Certification of the herdsmen
Humans naturally cherish values. Cattle rearing is a very lucrative business; hence, the “professionals” have to be honored and recognized. The government should ensure all cattle farmers, irrespective of their level of literacy, are certified. This imprints a sense of responsibility and cooperation in the herdsmen.
Scheduled and regulated period of grazing
Herdsmen and crop farmers can both have a symbiotic relationship, where the two parties benefit immensely from each other. The government should organize a schedule that indicates where and when the cattle graze.
The schedule can also be structured such that cattle only graze when the sown crops are harvested; this reduces the cost of land preparation as the leftovers and associated weeds are grazed, also, the cattle droppings serves as a source of manure, thus, enriching the soil for subsequent farming. This is just a function of regulated and organized cooperation between the two parties.
Establishment of pastures in each state
In developed countries, there are sown pastures to sustain the cattle and other ruminant animals all through the year. Each state should have a pasture land for cattle grazing since we all need animal protein, it is a communal responsibility. The cattle herdsmen should be distributed across the six-geopolitical zones for grazing during the off-season. It is more organized and befitting as the crop farmers can also sleep with their two eyes closed.
Coerciveness doesn’t solve problems; love is enough to solve all problems. The crop and the beef are major components of food for humans, so why should we harm ourselves when we are meant to benefit from ourselves?
The aforementioned approaches are better ways of resolving these farmers and herdsmen issues. Feel free to add yours as this article is channeled towards solving the national threat. Endeavor to share this as wide as possible until it gets to a point of implementation. With agriculture, we can make this country great again.
Read also: Solutions To Activities Of Fulani Herdsmen In Nigeria (By Prof Aromolaran)