WHY OPEN GRAZING MUST BE DISCONTINUED
Growing desertification and violence in Nigeria is forcing thousands especially of Muslim herdsmen to move south, leading to clashes with the mostly Christian crop farmers and ethnicities. … A report published in the Journal of Ecology and the Natural Environment says that more than 60 percent of the Nigeria’s land is affected.
Speaking on the issue, global economist expert and one of Nigeria’s foremost said and shared, “In 1999-2002, I was a cabinet member in Katsina State Government. When I was preparing our first budget, I was unsettled by the past trends in government support for agriculture”.
The Dr continued, “Year in year out, 80% of the budget for agriculture went into fertilizers procurement. Knowing the requirements of agriculture as I did then, I felt that I needed to interrogate the tendency to give so much to one need out of 20 clearly identified needs of the sector”.
“I appointed consultants to go round farmers all over the state to generate a list of their actual needs. They came back with 20 items. I directed them to return to the farmers for the ranking of those needs from the most to the least important. The outcome shocked me to the marrow of my weak bones”.
Fertilizers was ranked #13. Desertification was ranked #1;
Extension service was #2;
Market/profitability was #3.
Subsidy was not a identified as a need.
“I became very interested in desertification. I read a number of reference materials with very authoritative conclusions. A recurring judgment based on field empirical evidences was that OPEN GRAZING was a key factor in destroying 90% of the vegetation cover in Northern Nigeria from 1960 to 2000″.
“If we can help it, that trend must be arrested and reversed. It must not be allowed to be extended to Southern Nigeria.”
“When I later followed up on desertification to find out why it was the most important factor or need, it turned out that farmers believed that desertification was responsible for the destruction of the quality of the soil and invariably held to be a major cause of falling farm output or yield”. Dr. Tanimu Yakubu concluded.
The United Nations’ official definition says desertification is land degradation in typically dry areas resulting from various factors, including climatic variations and human activities. … Many things can cause desertification. Drought, overgrazing, fire, and deforestation can thin out vegetation, leaving exposed soil.
In northern Nigeria, desertification threatens the livelihoods of some 40 million people. There are about 11 states that account for about 35 percent of the country’s total land area and are key areas of livestock rearing and agricultural production, such as beans, soya beans, millet, sorghum, tomatoes, melons, peppers, and onions.
Dr. Tanimu Yakubu is also a member of the Nigeria’s highly respected non governmental organisation seeking for justice, equity, peace and unity in Nigeria (JEPUIN)
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