A Data analyst and agropreneur, has advocated for the mainstreaming of livestock farming as the solution to the perennial farmers and herders clash which has claimed human lives, livestock, farms and properties.
Mr Ibrahim Maigari, co-founder of livestock247.com and MD/CEO Rice Afrika presented the solution to a group of journalists under the aegis of Nigeria Association of Agricultural Journalists (NAAJ) in Lagos, he explained that mainstreaming livestock farming was a solution that will be in the interest of all concerned.
“When are we going to start talking about solutions that will be in the interest of all? You see, we have been talking about our ideas for a solution for many years now but to no avail. Open grazing is no longer sustainable in the country today,” he said.
According to Maigari, whose organisation Livestock247 is using technology to mainstream the sector, there are 4 types of nomadic pastoralism which is important to know in order to arrive at a broad based solution.
“International transhumance: This is the pastoralist who moves from 1 country to another e.g, moving from Gambia to Niger, according to the ECOWAS transhumance protocol signed in 1998, this group has the right to move within ECOWAS countries without hindrance as long they don’t stay in a place for more than 90days. The second type is the national transhumance; this is an indigene of Nigeria who moves with his herd from one part of Nigeria to the other in search of pasture/water. We should know that this movement is seasonal, mainly for environmental reasons.
“The third type is the Agro-Pastoralist; this group are basically farmers who own and keep livestock. They are mostly sedentary, and have been staying in various communities for years. They don’t normally graze too far from their farms and the fourth type is the Pre-Urbans (Ranch owners); This group consist of elites, enthusiasts who are into livestock production as a business. They establish feedlots, provide feeds, water and veterinary care for their livestock privately. Their ownership is mostly commercial even if propelled by passion or tradition,” said
Maigari noted that the herds cannot be blamed or hated for the destruction to crops or perceived through ethnic lenses.
“We have researched and written severally that the solution to this unfortunate conflict is to de-ethnicise livestock production and ownership.
“We have to mainstream the Livestock sector the same way former President Obasanjo mainstreamed the poultry sector with sound policy. Today poultry business is now a multi-billion dollar industry because it is not perceived as an ethnic business. We need to start looking at the Livestock sector as a big business. We have to stop concentrating on the cattle as a symbol of an ethnic group that deserves our hatred, because of socio-political reasons, and start concentrating on the by products derived from Livestock – meat, milk and leather.
“If we can all eat meat, drink milk, and use leather products, why can’t we all produce meat, milk and leather?
“Remember the cow is innocent and neutral, the cow does not understand Hausa, Fulani, Ibo, Urhobo, Yoruba or Tiv, all the cow needs are tender, love and care (TLC), as in food, water and veterinary care,” he said.
Maigari stressed that everyone has the right to get involved in this multi-billion dollar sector, and stop the hate and arrogance.
“Why do we think hate and arrogance stifles the development of the sector? A section of our country rejects whatever is brought forward as a solution because of hate, and another section refuses to change ancient method of production due to arrogance. If we all see it as a big business that it is, maybe we will welcome good ideas for the development of the sector. Note that Lagos alone slaughters over 6000 cows a day, who produces them and where?
“If a Hausa man has the right to own an oil well in the Niger Delta, nothing stops an Ijaw man from owning ranches in the north,” he said.