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Between Farmers and Cattle Rearers

Nigeria
Daily Trust
09/11/2010

Clashes over land ownership and grazing land for the animals has continued to grow in the past few years.

The ever growing pressure for land this past few years has been described by many experts and onlookers as a clear manifestation of the impact of climate change across Nigeria with most states in the far North being the worst affected by these changes. "We travel from far away to find grass for our cows to feed on and whenever we get a small area to graze on, the farmers come and tell us to go away, where do they want us to go and feed our cows? Laments Aminu Sani, a pastoralist who complained to the Heinrich Boll Foundation in Kaduna when they visited their community on a climate change witness tour to assess the impact of climate change in the state.

"We travel to far away states close to the border of Niger Republic to feed our cows but now the weather has changed and the place is full of dry ground and sand which is why we came here as we used to do before but now we are always fighting with the farmers before we can feed our animals, please government must help us because we are not allowed to let our animals drink even the water in the rivers," he said.

When asked if he would like to change his vocation of herding cattle, he said cattle rearing is their only occupation and it will be foolish for anyone to leave the cattle for whatever kind of job. "We can never leave our animals no matter what you give us."

Malam Habila Kaura Jatau is the chief of Dutse community in Gwagwada district of Chukun Local Government Area of Kaduna State. He said the farmlands are no longer as fertile as they use to be in the past so it is really painful for farmers to struggle and spend so much money buying fertilizer and then watch as cattle herders drive their animals to feed on the crops.

He said it is difficult to avoid confrontation with cattle herders these days because more of them are coming into their area to find food for their animals there is no rainfall where they used to be.

"In the past, people were very few and there was plenty land for them to come and graze but now the population has increased so there is fewer land to farm on. Sometimes, the local government people would settle us and ask them to pay damages in form of money so that we can replant or buy food but the problem is still with us.

There used to be paths for animals in the past but every where is full now that is why there is always clash between the cattle herders and us," he said.

The cattle come in droves, invading most farm lands in search of better grazing land as desert encroachment seem to have taken over vas t farm lands in states in the far north while the farmers who are already feeling the impact of the changes especially delayed and interrupted rainfall, are protesting the invasion of their farms by the cattle herders.

The devastating impacts of climate change is expected to force more people into the North central except mitigation and adaptation strategies are put in place immediate.

Country Director of the Heinrich Boll Foundation Christin advised that people must be educated on the need to reduce human activities such as tree felling, burning of carbon fuel and biomass as well as gas flaring which further aggravate and cause climate change.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Development Association for Renewable Energies (DARE) and producers of an energy saving stove known as Save 80, Yahaya Ahmed, advised farmers to demarcate areas of the farms by planting Jatropha plant round it to prevent animals from going into the farms to destroy crops.

According to him, "animals do not feed on Jatropha neither do they go near the plant because it emits an odour that repels animals."

Most of the farmers that were interacted with were not aware of the impacts of climate change but they said they have noticed the gradual changes in the weather and the environment but are not aware of what is causing the changes.

50-year-old Alhaji Kire is a cattle herder; he migrated from Yobe and Saulawa in Katsina State because of desert encroachment to settle in Danbasa Maiyare in Ikara Local Government of Kaduna state where he now fights anybody who tries to cut down the trees surrounding his house.

El contenido de las noticias que se presentan en esta sección es responsabilidad directa de las agencias emisoras de noticias y no necesariamente reflejan la posición del Gobierno de México en este u otros temas relacionados.

    

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