Farmer/herders conflict: Paradigm shift in understanding economic contributions needed

Mazino Dickson

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A new paradigm shift that better appreciates the contributions of animal herders to the economic value chain of African agriculture and indeed the larger economy has been identified as the fastest solution to the lingering herders-farmers clashes across the Western Sahel and Lake Chad regions.

Prof. Isaac Olawale Albert, Dean of the Faculty of Multidisciplinary Studies, University of Ibadan, said this at a workshop held in Abuja.

Albert said the continuous failure of governments and farming communities to understand the immediate challenges confronting animal herders has created an atmosphere of mistrust; leading to violence, destruction and human displacement.

He added that the movement of herders is sometimes also influenced by the particular specie of cattle under their care.

Some of the animals under their care have different behavioural patterns. They can create problems the herders cannot handle. there are animals if you shout, they will scatter and run away. if you don’t understad the challenge from a sociological perspective you cannot solve it.

He also blamed the harsh climatic conditions in the Sahel and Lake Chad regions have forced millions of animal and crop farmers to relocate to more hospitable areas to survive – with may resorting to crime, smuggling, terrorism and banditry to survive.

Albert therefore called for a roust mechanism that will allow for dialogue ad peaceful co-existence between farming and herder populations, while addressing the issue of environmental degradation and economic viability of communities.

Organized by the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution and Search for Common Ground; the two-day workshop sets out to address farmer-herder relations in the Western Sahel and the Lake Chad regions.

 

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