Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), along with with its development partners, have organised a regional summit to address the issues of farmers- herders’ conflict towards creating peaceful coexistence and engendering food and nutrition security.
Speaking during the Summit held recently in Abuja, the Minister, Federal Ministry Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar said that the Summit with the theme “Promoting Peace and Climate Security in the Crop and Livestock farming Sectors” provided the opportunity for dialogue and discourse on the way forward for achieving peaceful coexistence between crop farmers and livestock herders whose incessant conflict in the region was threatening food and national security in Nigeria.
Abubakar stated that the surge in the age-long conflict had been recently attributed to the complex interaction between the changing nature of the availability and access to natural resources (land and water) in the region as a result of the effects of climate change, adding that other factors include the rapidly rising population of humans and livestock, diminishing arable and grazing lands, among others.
He pointed out that Farmers-herders conflict predated the existence of Nigeria as an independent, sovereign nation, noting that it was a conflict that the previous and current generations of farmers and herders, especially rural dwellers have come to know and managed properly using traditional methods.
In his words, “the dimensions it has taken lately call for deep introspection into unravelling the causes of the heightened, unwarranted attacks by both actors in the conflict and more innovative ways of addressing it”.
Speaking further, he revealed that Natural resources are under increasing stress due to climate change, leading to fierce competition and violent conflicts over their use. While climate change was not a precursor to the migration of herders to the southern and north-central of Nigeria, it had increased their migration from areas with a high frequency of drought and lower availability of natural resources to the southern forest zone with better resources for their livestock.
The Minister commended the organizers of the event, the Ministry and its partners, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) among others, for creating opportunities for dialogue, strengthening peace-building mechanisms, investing in initiatives that foster economic interdependence between herders and farmers as well as fostering social protection measures against sensitive conflicts in the country.
In a goodwill message, the Chairman, House Committee on Agricultural Production and Services, Hon. Muntari Dandutse said that the summit was timely especially at this critical time when the world is faced with lots of challenges in food production citing the Ukraine- Russian issues among others.
He stated that Federal Government was doing a lot to solve the conflict between farmers and Herders by supporting the State Government but unfortunately, it had trickled down.
Hon. Muntari, therefore emphasized the need for fund given to the State Government to be utilized effectively down to the level of local Government.
In her remarks, the Minister of State for Federal Capital Territory, Dr. Ramatu Tijani Aliyu said the upsurge in conflict between farmers and herders also posed a threat to peaceful co-existence between communities.
Highlight of the event was the interactive session, inspection and exhibition of Dairy products, among others.
In attendance were the Executive Governor of Kebbi State, Minister of State, FCT, HRH, Emir of Nasarawa State, the Chairman, House Committee on Agricultural Production and Services, Ghana High Commissioner to Nigeria, among others.