An Anthropologist, Dr Adam Higazi has said government policies on addressing conflicts between farmers and pastoralists must be based on reality not sentiments.
Higazi, a post-doctoral research fellow at the Department of Anthropology, University of Amsterdam, made the remarks yesterday in Kaduna at a seminar organised by the French Embassy in partnership with The Pastoral Resolve (PARE).
The Tide source reports that the seminar addressed Ethnography and Scientific Knowledge as it relates to pastoralism and it’s Policy Implications in the country.
It also seek to identify the root causes and solutions to the clashes between farmers and pastoralists through necessary understanding of the way each one works within the society.
Higazi, in his presentation which touched on bridging knowledge gap in the study of pastoralism in Nigeria, said it was important for government policies to be anchored on sound knowledge, not ignorance or sentiments.
The scholar, who conducted fieldwork within nomadic and semi-nomadic Fulani communities in different states of central and northern Nigeria in August and September 2018, said knowledge would help improve policy making and success rate in containing the crisis.
According to him, the field work was to deepen anthropological and historical knowledge of the relationship between the two economic groups.
“The main objective of the research is that policy should be based on evidence and knowledge, policy should not be made based on ignorance.
“We should improve based on sociological and scientific knowledge and data which will be put into policy making on rural areas, and on pastoralism and agriculture.”
The Permanent Commissioner, Kaduna State Peace Commission, Dr Saleh Momale, noted that conflicts between pastoralists and farmers have remained a challenge over the last three decades in governing Nigeria’s rural space.
Momale explained that the disputes began over access to grazing areas, grazing and migratory routes, crop damages and use of lowland Fadama resources.
“The inability to effectively address the problems metamorphosed into violent conflicts in many parts of the country, leading to death of persons, destruction of properties and displacements of varying proportions.
“The growth of crime in form of cattle rustling, raiding of villages and kidnapping opened another dimension to the challenges of managing relations between pastoralists and farmers in particular, and enforcing the rule of law in the rural areas in general.”
According to him, in recent years, there is increasing occurrence of violent conflicts which are being interpreted in different ways.
” Even though a number of researches have been conducted to understand the key drivers of the conflicts, the outcome of the research works has not significantly impacted responses and policies of governments at all levels.
“This allowed for misinterpretation of the world-view of the pastoralists leading to enactment of inappropriate policies and responses in some areas.
“Overall, this created a vacuum that is filled by narrow-based perceptions that are not founded on empirical research.” he said
He said that Hagizi had since 2004 conducted research in Nigeria on the ethnography, scientific knowledge and policy making processes as it affects pastoralists.
Momale said that a seminar be held to allow participants respond to the findings of the research by Hazigi, and for them to contribute their perspectives and understanding on the issues.
” It is expected that at the end of today’s event, a summary of the discussions and recommendations will be prepared”.
“It is also expected that a policy brief to inform actions and interventions by all stakeholders including governments, civil society organisations and the media, among others will be prepared and disseminated.”
The commissioner assured the organisers and participants that the Kaduna State Government and the Peace Commission would work with suggestions arrived at during the event in promoting peace, security, social and economic development of the state.
He thanked the French embassy for the foresight to organise the event as its contribution towards resolving the lingering challenge of conflicts, livestock development and effective governance in the country.
“We also thank Dr Higazi for his interest and acceptance to share the results of his research work.
“We acknowledge and value the contributions of The Pastoral Resolve (PARE) is facilitating communications and linkages during the planning of this seminar.”
IITA Develops New Potato Variety
Empowering, Novel, Agri-Business Led, Employment, Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (ENABLE TAAT) has recently developed Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) species to tackle malnutrition and reduce diabetes in Africa.
The ENABLE TAAT Field Trainer of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Mr Murtalab Adedamola, made this known in Ibadan yesterday.
He said that the development of the potato species was one of the plans of IITA, aimed at combating malnutrition and attaining food security in Africa. Adedamola said that OFSP was different from the Irish potato, adding that it contained a lot of water, Vitamin A, high carotene and low level of sugar. “It has two varieties – King J and Mothers’ Delight, and it can be used for baking cake, snacks and bread.
“It is stress-free, its cultivation cycle is within three months; it is not a tuber but a root and it does not go deep into the soil like cassava.
“The growth continues even after harvesting, it is good for children and diabetic patients because of its low level of sugar. Farmers can plant a hectare with just 500kg. vines of OFSP, which multiplies.
“They should cut the vines together, bundle them together, weigh them and then plant them. Farmers can plant at a depth of 20 or 25 cm and at an angle of 45 degrees because the spacing can determine the yield,” he said. Adedamola advised farmers to always apply MPK fertiliser to the crop after two weeks of planting, as the exercise would go a long way to improve the yield if the crop had access to water. The field trainer said that the maintenance of an OFSP farm would not require much weeding, adding that the soil would crack while its flowers would shoot out to signal the appropriate time for harvesting. He, however, warned that the King J variety of OFSP was better grown in the northern parts of the country, while the cultivation of the Mothers’ Delight type would thrive in the South.
“In Cameroon, we have four varieties of OFSP and in Cote d’Ivoire, there are six varieties. Farmers are planting it already but the produce lacks market because people are not aware of its numerous benefits. “When people learn about its benefits, they will start patronising the farmers well; we will definitely have more varieties of it in Nigeria because it is a crop that can transform the livelihood of potato farmers perfectly,’’ he added.
Assembly Approves N1.5bn Agric Loan
The Niger State House of Assembly has passed a resolution granting approval to the state government to access a N1.5bn facility for the implementation of the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS).
The House passed the resolution yesterday following the presentation of the report of Joint Committees on Finance and Agriculture.
Presenting the report, Chairman of the Joint Committee, Alhaji Abdullahi Mammagi, said it interfaced with relevant stakeholders to ascertain the justification for the request made.
Mammagi noted that the facility was being offered at an interest rate of nine per cent per annum and 60 months repayment period by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“From the interface held, the committee found that the Federal Government had offered a window of facility to states to support implementation of AADS in states.
“The CBN, through Zenith Bank has offered to provide the of N1.5bn. The facility is offered for a period of 60 months, at an interest rate of nine per cent per annum.
“This is deemed to be highly competitive in terms of what obtains in the banking industry.
“Niger State has keyed into the programme as its implementation would stimulate and support socio-economic development in the state,” he added.
According to him, the repayment cost was manageable, adding that it would not be too much burden on the monthly cash flow of the state.
Similarly, the House commenced debate on the 2019 budget by the governor.
NGO Urges FG To Increase Agric Financing
The Fresh and Young Brains Development Initiative (FBIN), an NGO, has appealed to the Federal Government to increase its funding on agriculture, especially for women and youth farmers to increase their yields.
The Founder of the initiative, Mrs Nkiruka Nnaemego, made the call on Monday in Abuja at the Yfarm National Colloquium on Attracting Public Financing in Sustainable Agriculture for Youth and Women Small Scale Farmers.
Nnaemego said that the Nigerian government had committed to the 2014 Malabo Principles of ensuring increase in public funding to at least 10 per cent of the national budget to the agricultural sector.
According to her, this will enable the countries effectively implement their programmes to reduce hunger and increase productivity among in Africa.
She said that this commitment had not been achieved and it was affecting the productivity of small scale farmers, who consisted of about 70 per cent of the country’s farming population.
“This colloquium provides a unique platform for stakeholders in agriculture to brainstorm on innovative models and approaches for attracting public financing and government involvement in agriculture.
“From the Malabo declaration, which African Heads of State agreed to commit 10 per cent of their countries’ budgets to agriculture, it is unfortunately that Nigeria is still below three per cent.
“Agriculture is the way to go now since the country is looking for other options aside oil. We need to increase finance in agriculture.
“Although the Federal Government is trying, but it should try harder,” she said.
She explained that Yfarm project’s goal was to promote a youth/women-led agribusiness society by reducing poverty, thereby increasing active youth/women participation in sustainable agriculture by 2020.
She said that Yfarm Project had been at the forefront of policy advocacy, media engagement, capacity building and mentoring of rural and vulnerable youth/women in some parts of Africa.
“We celebrate outstanding youths and women, provide access to markets and business networking through our National and African Youth Agric Festivals and Concerts,” she stated.
The Project Coordinator, Food and Agriculture, Actionaid Nigeria, Mr Azubike Nwokoye appealed to the Federal Government to create an enabling environment to attract private investment. He further urged government at all levels to do their parts by increasing public financing on agriculture across all areas with comparative advantages.
”That is a failure in its own already.”
Soni appealed to the government to make available inputs by January not in April and May when such inputs were not needed.
The Programme Officer, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Mr Alphonsus Onwuemeka said that agriculture was in the concurrent list and urged the state governments to play their parts to lessen the burden on the Federal Government.
He acknowledged the Federal Government’s support to agriculture and urged women to take advantage of the gender unit created by government at the Ministry of Agriculture to handle women challenges.
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