PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS FACING CATTLE RANCHING SYSTEM IN NIGERIA

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PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS FACING CATTLE RANCHING SYSTEM IN NIGERIA

INTRODUCTION

The extensive movement of animals in search of pastures and water is known as “PASTORALISM”. Pastoralism, as it relates to open grazing in Nigeria, has become very controversial. This highly divisive subject follows years of deadly ethnic clashes between herdsmen and local farmers, resulting in thousands of deaths.

 

The predominant and widely known rearing cattle method in Nigeria is the nomadic approach, where herds of cattle are free to roam the country, including on farmlands, searching for pasture and water. In recent times, this approach has resulted in issues relating to cattle rustling, destruction and damage of cultivated farmlands, communal clashes between herders and farmers with consequent losses of lives and properties – generally leading to low yield and productivity in the industry.

In exploiting the pastoral agro-ecosystem, cattle ranching, an intensive form of pastoralism, supports controlled grazing. This changes pastoralism’s mobility nature where grazing of available pasture is limitless.

Ranching involves separating an area of land, including various structures, principally for raising grazing livestock such as cattle or sheep for meat, milk, wool and other livestock products. This practice exposes cattle to paddock grazing with improved varieties of forages and fodders all year round and modern livestock management practices such as feedlot fattening, artificial insemination and others. Cattle ranching may be a solution to address the growing crisis threatening the national security of Nigeria.

 

The practice of cattle ranching in some areas across Nigeria is an improvement over the traditional cattle (livestock) management system that supports open cattle grazing. removal and conflicts over natural resources access. Also, controlled grazing contributes significantly to addressing these challenges and supports the effective management of environmental and natural resources.

 

In the long run, ranching may be a more sustainable form of pastoralism. However, a sudden switch may be difficult to implement due to the current lack of a consensus between Nigeria’s Federal Government and affected north-central and southern states’ governments.

 

Even though some states have already enacted an anti-open grazing law, many states in Nigeria are yet to address ongoing issues/tensions triggered by pastoralism. This may be because open grazing and nomadic cattle grazing practice has been known to nomadic pastoralists for centuries.

 

In conclusion, Nigeria offers a massive opportunity in the livestock industry, occupying the 14th position in the world with an estimated 20 million herds of cattle compared to Brazil, India and China – the top three nations with the highest herds of cattle in the world with 212,189 and 114 million herds of cattle, respectively.

Background of the study

A ranch is an area of land, including various structures, given primarily to the practice of ranching, the practice of raising grazing livestock such as cattle and sheep.

It also changes the common property character of the pastoralist land where all land is open for pastures without any individual ownership. Ranching is now the dominant system of ruminant livestock production in North America, Australia and parts of South America. This is because the advantages of cattle ranching and it importance cannot be over emphasize Some European systems could also be described as ranching, though enclosures are often small and animals are frequently given supplements in the field (Ibid). In countries like United States, (Ibid), communal grazing pastoralism was prevalent in the 19th century, but now the grazing systems are fully enclosed (Ibid) From 1990 to 2003, the cattle herd in the Northern part of the country grew by 140% from 26.6 million to 64 million heads. Increasing demand and the sector’s advantages in the region suggest that ranching will continue to grow in the region. Nevertheless, the growth of extensive ranching in the region is worrying especially because of increased deforestation. Scientific and modern economic intervention into pastoralism has generally targeted the mobility and communal grazing characteristics of the system which results into sedentarized and most likely the enclosed, ranching system. This intervention has implication that the pastoralist ecosystem is a limited and valuable resource. The traditional pastoralist perception is contrary to this implication, and considers and wishes to consider that pastoral land is essentially vast wilderness with no instituted limitation of use (no use limits except the availability of pastures). This obviously contradicts most intervention outlook. Even with most prominent advocates for promotion and improvement of pastoralist resource exploitation strategy, the baseline seems somewhere to be based on sedentarization or predictable location prior to other proposed measures like nutritional and veterinary assistance for livestock, services such as education (schools) and health; and setting up emergency grazing areas [Ibid]. There has been extensive scholarly analysis of the livelihood and sustainability of pastoralism as a way of life of a significant proportion of the human population. Much criticism exists arguing that mobility of large herds of livestock is stressful to the environment as it would cause extensive removal of vegetation. Repeated uncontrolled grazing often ends up into bare land where vegetation is completely removed. Due to livestock trampling topsoil of an area usually becomes much pulverized while the immediate subsoil beneath becomes severely compacted. Pulverized soil is prone to extensive loss of soil through wind erosion while when it rains sheet erosion sweeps away very easily most of the pulverized soil. The surface run-off becomes much enhanced by the compacted soil condition. Therefore, while rainfall would be stimulant for vegetation re-growth, because of extensive vegetation removal and compaction the rainfall instead becomes an enhancer of bareness of the soil after washing away all the soil that would support vegetation re-growth. In the Sahel in Africa, it has been reported that vegetation removal by livestock in the area is believed to have increased soil surface albedo to the extent of causing reduction of rainfall and rapid desertification. The worst thing about the unlimited mobility is that it can extend its impact beyond limits. Another criticism on pastoralism is centered on the system’s tendency against limited use rights of pastureland In this context all pastureland is communal and open to limitless grazing. Since communal use of pasturelands prevents any sense of ownership of the land, no individual pastoralist can think of expansion of his activities within the locality in which he is existing at any particular time. At the same time the pastoralist cannot intuit any idea of intensification because under communal ownership there is no ground on which this intensification can be exercised. Under the communal setup, for example, a pastoralist cannot think of possibility of substituting some of the livestock for more pasture land. This is the dilemma of the communal land tenure system of traditional pastoralism. In his much referred “Tragedy of the commons”, criticizes very categorically the communal grazing characteristic of pastoralism and insists privatization as a way to correct imbalances of the pastoralist practice. In his article he described how common property resources shared by pastoralists eventually become over-used and ruined. He argued that the pastoralist land use strategy is unstable and a cause of environmental degradation. Earlier more than a century ago, also criticized pastoralism and argued observing that as far as common grazing land is concerned there is everything against it. He asserted that where there is communal grazing, every peasant in the village would tend to maximize the opportunity within the same limited area, with the result that grazing lands become always overstocked, never given rest, and usually become little more than exercise grounds for cattle (Ibid). Facts about this are difficult to totally refute even though some more recent literature elaborate contrary opinion and argue for a more interdisciplinary apprehension.

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

When ranching was introduced, the economic contribution of the livestock was the major consideration. This consideration relegated the multiple functions and non-economic uses of livestock, which might be more important to the Fulani. Ranching capitalized on enhanced production output, but overlooked the potential use of animals as self-reproducing wealth, symbol of prestige, medium of social exchange, and insurance policy (Cisse 1980; and Schneider 1981). A major policy mistake was that of failing to understand that traditional pastoralism was an important source of food and employment on a continuous basis to most of the household members (Sandford 1982; and Cossins 1983). It is against this backdrop that the researcher intends to investigate the problem and prospect of cattle ranching in Nigeria

OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

The main the objective of the study is to ascertain Food insecurity in Nigeria and it effects: the issue of cattle ranching in osun state. To aid the successful completion of the study, the researcher intends to achieve the following specific objective;

  1.  to examine whether ranching systen will end communal/ethnic clashes between farmers and herdsmen
  2. to examine whether ranching system will Increasing yield in cattle/livestock production
  3. to eaxamine whether rancing will help in Less risk of disease transmission
  4. establish whether raching system will help  in National Security
  5. to examine the impact of ranching towards the Effective management of environmental resources

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of great importance to the house committee on agriculture and federal ministry of agriculture as the study seek to enumerate the numerous benefit of cattle ranching over open grazing as this will help in policy formation, the study will also be of importance to the security operative as the findings of the study will help them strategize to curb the menace of herdsmen farmers conflict in Benue state, the study will also be useful to researchers who intend to embark on a study in a similar topic as the study will serve as a reference point to further studies. Finally, the study will be of great importance to reporters, academia’s, students, teachers and the general public as the study will add to the pool of existing literature and also contribute to bank of knowledge in the subject matter.

Definition of The Terms

Conflict: is a psychic struggle between opposing or incompatible impulses, desires, or tendencies in order words, conflict means to come into collision or disagreement be it contradictory, at variance or in opposition.

Security: is the protection of a person, building, organization or country against threat such as crime or attacks by either external or internal factor.

Insecurity: the state of being open to danger or threat i.e lack of protection.

National: relating to or characteristic of a nation, common to a whole nation or typical of the people or customs of a particular country or nation

Farmers: a person who own and manage a farm or a person engaged in agriculture, raising living.

Fulani herdsmen:  are nomadic or semi nomadicfulani people whose primary occupation is raising livestock. Fulani herdsmen or Fulani pastoralists are nomadic or semi-nomadic Fulani people whose primary occupation is raising livestock. The Fulani herdsmen are largely located in the Sahel and semi-arid parts of West Africa, but due to relatively recent changes in climate patterns, many herdsmen have moved further south into the savannah and tropical forest belt of West Africa. The herdsmen are found in countries such as Nigeria, Niger, Senegal, Guinea, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, and Cameroon. In Senegal they inhabit northeastern Ferlo and the southeastern part of the country. In many of these countries the Fula often constitute a minority group

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