TETFUND proffers solution to farmers/herdmen clashes in Nigeria

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The Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), Professor Suleman Elias Bogoro has explained the reason behind frequent clashes between farmers and herdsmen in some parts of the country.

Bogoro, who spoke while delivering the maiden annual lecture of Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, noted that growing land pressure was the major cause of frequent clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the country.

At the lecture were the immediate past Minster of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, Vice Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede, IAR&T Executive Director, Professor Veronica Obatolu and former UI Vice Chancellor of University of Ibadan, Professor Olufemi Bamiro, among others.

Bogoro who spoke on the topic, “Research for development in the agricultural sector: The role of research institutes in innovative value chain transformation” insisted that the most common trigger of farmer-herder conflict is crop damage caused by passing livestock.

The Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi professor noted that many herders had seen their grazing lands put into cultivation, the situation which is making their livelihoods more challenging.

He maintained that theft as a result of cattle rusting, social inequalities and conflict of interest and mistrust were also contributing to the increased rate of conflicts between farmers and herdsmen in the country.

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He also alleged that armed groups use stolen cattle to fund their illegal activities.

“Growing land pressure is the most common trigger of farmer-herder conflict is crop damage caused by passing livestock. As the region’s rural population has grown dramatically, many herders have seen their grazing lands put into cultivation making their livelihoods more challenging.

“Livestock is the most valuable resource across many rural communities and is a common target of theft.

“Increased frequency and magnitude of livestock theft is both a cause and effect of violent conflict. Armed groups use stolen cattle to fund their activities.

“Recent shifts in livestock ownership in some locations from rural pastoralist communities to wealthy urban dwellers have generated perceptions that herders are representing elite interests. This has contributed to the breakdown of traditional systems of mutual dependence such as the sharing of crop residue,” he said.

Ogunbodede noted that the institute was established in order to help the country achieve self sufficiency in food and industrial raw material production.

“IAR&T is a multi-commodity research institute with the national and zonal mandate in the different commodity areas towards the ultimate goal of supporting the nation to achieve self sufficiency in food and industrial raw material production within a very short time,” he stated.

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Obatolu in her welcome address noted that the lecture was organised to address the rising unemployment among youths.

“The rising unemployment rate especially among graduates is the major worrying trend observed when assessing the challenges faced by youth in Nigeria today.

“In an attempt to address this worrying trend, IAR&T, as an Agricultural institution affiliated to Obafemi Awolowo University, bridges the university education with the domain of work through entrepreneurial training in different areas of her national and zonal agricultural research mandates deploying her break-throughs in maize, kenaf, cowpea, soyabean and trypernotelerant/micro-livestock value chains,” she said.

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