Conflict in Nigeria’s Agricultural Community; The Herders’ Perspective in North Central Nigeria
The crop farmer-herder conflict has taken a toll on the agricultural development of Nigeria. These two major players in the Nigerian agricultural sector, constitute a threat to their livelihood strategy. As a result of these conflicts, fortunes have been lost in terms of crops and livestock. Our study investigated conflict between herders and crop farmers in Kogi State, Nigeria. In general, a herdsman is responsible for the conflict experienced on the agricultural scene in Nigeria. This work presents the herders’ perspective to the lingering dispute. For the purpose of the study, purposive sampling method was used to select 3 locations in the state. Furthermore, we applied snowball sampling to select 40 herder respondents from each of the three locations; consequently, a total of 120 herders were sampled for the study. Data were collected through the use of structured interview schedules. Descriptive statistics, the 5 point Likert scale and Chi square test were used for the analyses. Among the identified causes of conflict one can enumerate: crop damage by cattle (72.5%), crop farmers encroachment onto cattle routes (47.5%), inadequate grazing reserves for cattle (70.0%), lack of access to water points (64.2%), pollution of water points leading to death of livestock (47.5%), intentional bush burning (66.7%), maiming/killing of stray cattle (74.2%), and blockade of stock route by farms (80.8%). Resolution of conflict situations was found to be carried out mostly by traditional institutions, i.e. the police, local authorities, courts and cattle breeders association through legal means and payment of compensation among others. Furthermore, the herdsmen also have strategies to prevent such conflicts; these are restriction of cattle, awareness of the existence of a stock route among members and use of the stock route. Therefore, we recommend the use of traditional institutions and support of the cattle breeders association to manage such conflicts in any case.
Conflict, herder- farmer, conflict-resolution, stock route
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