A Farmer is a person who works the land or keeps livestock, especially on a farm. A Herder is someone who drives a herd of livestock, in the context of this blog episode, Cows and Sheep etc.
The definition above exposes similarities with two groups who ought to be mutual business partners for reason to be exposed in the paragraphs below. We could say the two groups ought to be best friends in business; since they complement each other in several areas.
For simple illustration, the cow dung is a natural fertilizer for the farmer’s crops while the grass taken off the farmers land is fodder for the cow. There are other complementary benefits which can only be derived from a productive interaction between the two groups.
In developed and progressive nations of this earth, the great potentials of this symbiotic relationship have been exploited to maximize the capability of this sector and has made a healthy contribution to the strength of the economy of such nations, while boosting the financial capability of all participants.
In Nigeria, the story as usual has been heart-breaking and nefariously different. The reason and solution does not rest in the spiritual realm or in some unexplained trick of fate. It rests with what is popularly referred to as common sense, which is not commonly obtainable in any market place or by the street corner. It rests with deep thinking and the minds of the participants which has been polluted by shadows of the real issue rather than the issue itself. It is a self made problem which is fueled by the ignorance of the participating and non participating citizens.
The population of Nigeria from independence till date has grown from about 33 million to about 190 million today. The fastest recorded growth rate was recorded through the period 1990 – 2008 as 56 Million. This is a 60% growth rate in less than two decades. The massive land mass of the country has not witnessed a spread of planned and structured settlements at a speed that will ensure adequate accommodation of this swell in number of Human beings.
This is a very irresponsible development which can be excused for the sake of ignorance. The rate of altercations between two close businesses partners (the Farmer and the Herder), clearly shows that this excuse is wearing thin in the face of our current reality in Nigeria.
Moving forward, it might be pertinent in the face of a rapidly growing population, to either confine the Herders to grazing reserves, or create more planned settlements for the farmers; Nigeria has the land space.
It would seem a more practical approach for the government to create grazing reserves for the fewer herders, than settlements for the rest of the population who are in the majority.
The creation of grazing reserves would provide countless jobs for persons who are neither Herdsmen nor Farmers, e.g. Veterinary doctors, Fodder Suppliers, Modern Abattoirs for cheap cow meat. On the part of the Herders, it would enable them supply the cow dung obtained from the reserves to the Farmers. The cow dung is still adjudged to favorably compete with industrial fertilizers, and this string of employment would surely put a smile on the faces of many currently unemployed Nigerians.
The farmer or interested parties can grow grass on Nigeria’s vast landscape, and supply the herdsman fodder for their herd, and this would also create employment opportunities for those that claim unemployment. The herd would be healthier, providing better quality meat and milk; opening up industrial entities that deal on the processing and packaging of cow meat like corned beef, and other dairy products.
This development would also encourage foreign investment in this area and the list of productive advantages goes on.
It is an established fact that true Patriotism knows neither Religious, ethnic, or political bias. There are Patriots on either side of the fence of the farmer/herder divide and this is the unifying factor that makes the greatness of the Nigerian nation. The solution to this seemingly perilous challenge can only be implemented by the patriotically minded citizens of this country and driven by the sincerity of purpose of the government of the day.
In conclusion, it is only a solution of patriotic distinction that can provide a way out of the currently precarious challenge that defines the Herders and Farmers clashes.
The continuous needless banter over issues of no consequence will neither provide the solution nor needed respite from the current gruesome outcome of altercations generated by our wanton neglect to collectively live up to our responsibilities as patriotic minded Nigerian citizens .
It would be best for the Patriots of this great nation to wield the constructive power of intellectual relevance and find a solution that will forge a way out of our current quagmire. Nothing less than solutions which include what has been summarily tendered above would suffice.
We are all one family called Nigeria, and this is a non negotiable reality which has existed since October 1st 1960.
On these truths and more, I rest my case on the Herdsmen, the Farmers and peaceful coexistence.
Arise O compatriots…
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