The Nigerian Institute of Animal Science (NIAS) has pressed for the transformation of all grazing reserves in the country into cattle ranches to check the lingering crisis between farmers and herders in some parts of Nigeria.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja organized to address the ongoing herder-farmer clashes, Festus Iyayi, registrar for the NIAS, asserted the need to move away from a transhumance mode to a more modern and sustainable ranching method of cattle production.
With competition for available resources increasing, especially in the case of grazing land, the rate of insecurity is likewise increasing across the country, resulting in clashes between herdsmen passing through to feed their cattle and host farming communities throughout Nigeria, particularly in the North Central region of the country.
The intensifying struggle between herdsmen and farmers follows a depletion of arable land for subsistence farming related to urbanization and climate change. Together, these factors have led to conflict, death and forced displacement, as well as the destruction of crops and livestock.
While recommending that ranches be established as a way of resolving the crisis, the institute also lamented that Boko Haram terrorism in the North East, banditry and cattle rustling in the North West and North Central zones have aggravated the crisis.
Iyayi called on the federal government to work with the various chambers of commerce and industry on bringing the private sector on board to facilitate the ranching and commercial pasture projects.
“All the 140 gazetted grazing reserves in Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, Zamafara and Oyo states as well the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) should be transformed to ranches,” Iyayi stated.