By Felicia Imohimi
All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) has described farmer-herder conflict as a threat to food sufficiency in the country.
Mr Kabir Ibrahim, National President of the association said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the capacity building for AFAN members and Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) on Friday in Abuja.
The workshop organised by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) was tagged: “Dialogue and negotiations: Why, when and how to be effective”.
“Farmer-herder conflict has the potential of disrupting farming activities completely and once we don’t go to the farm, we do not produce food there will be a short fall of food supply and therefore there will be a threat to food sufficiency in Nigeria.
“We will not have what we termed to be food security by 2020,” Ibrahim said.
The president, who condemned the devastating effect of conflicts frowned at the number of persons that had been killed and property destroyed due to farmer-herder conflict.
He specifically made reference to recent incidence in Katsina, adding that no fewer than 50 people had been buried in the past three weeks.
According to him, the farmer-herder conflict is limited to encroaching into the territory of our farms or farmlands by pastoralists and that does not result in the use of AK 47.
The president, who noted that the two bodies were working together to ensure that peace was restored however emphasised that there were other factors that could contribute to the several killings, banditry and kidnapping that might not necessarily be the farmer-herder.
“There may be matches, sticks but this incidence of AK 47 or bigger rifles being used is alien to the herder-farmer conflicts.
“But If we can resolve the farmer-herder conflicts l believed other things will also be resolved and we are hopeful there will be peace very soon,” he said.
Ibrahim, who described the farmer-herder as partners, noted that the training would avail participants the tools of negotiations.
Similarly, Andrew Kwasari, Advisor: Agriculture Interventions Coordinator, Office of the Vice President, identified the presidency as co-convener of the workshop.
Kwasari said the workshop was patterned to the three pillars of the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) which comprises conflict resolution, justice and peace and humanitarian relief.
He identified the pillars as key that could build around the entire success or failure of the NLTP.
“Therefore, we are expecting that having made this decision to train our key stakeholders AFAN and MACBAN is the only way to move forward with the successful implementation that is align with the aspirations and desires of the crop and livestock farmers.
“What we are out to do is to build their capacity in order to implement that we co-design together with them and also to be sure that these farmers have absolute confidence in the national livestock transformation plan.
“This could bring about long term sustainable peaceful coexistence between crop farmers and livestock farmers,” he said.
He identified the drivers of herder-farmer conflict as resources competition which was to do with scarcity of land, pasture and water for cropping and for livestock production.