A Fulani herdsmen’s association, Kullen Allah Cattle Rearers Association of Nigeria, (KACRAN) said failure by the federal government to involve the right stakeholders in the formulation of agricultural policies and programs has incapacitated the sector to grow to it full potential in Nigeria.
The Association shifted the blame to the federal government in a statement released on Monday in Damaturu by its National President, Khalil Mohammed Bello.
The National President in the statement said in drafting most of the agricultural policies, government usually considered farmers as critical players while neglecting pastoralists, a situation which had for long created enmity between the two inseparable brothers.
He also alleged that most Nigeria’s agricultural policies and programs favoured the farmers than the pastoralists, noting that, it was partly due to the involvement of the farmers’ associations in designing agricultural blueprints in the country.
“If not all, most of the federal government’s agricultural policies, though, we are not in doubt that they were introduced with good faith to develop the agricultural sector in the nation, but are unilateral due to fact that the pastoralists were neither involved in the policy formulation nor their representatives contacted to give some inputs on the policies more especially when it is perceived that such policies are detrimental to pastoral occupation.
“To start with as we are severally saying, and not only we are pressing this issue but even the former Minister of Agriculture Hon. Mr Audu Ogbe had stated in many instances that the Nigeria’s pastoralists and pastoralism in general were neglected for over 50 years,” Bello pointed.
He also claimed that, federal government’s FADAMA program which was introduced with good intention of boosting the Nation’s agricultural output, but is one of the programs which brings serious problem to Nigeria’s pastoralists as the program prevented herders from getting shelters at FADAMA places particularly during dry season.
“KACRAN viewed the above singular act of the federal government as an unfortunate action and of naked injustice to Nigerian’s pastoralists, because instead of allocating the FADAMA places between farmers and pastoralists, but the entire FADAMA palaces were handed over to crop/irrigation farmers to the detriment of pastoralists”, he lamented.
According to the KACRAN’s National President, the total neglect of pastoralists’ interests has resulted in breeding gangs of criminals among them, who are presently terrorizing farmers in different parts of the country and which may seriously affect this year’s agricultural production, if there is no effort to crush the criminals.
“In addition, the non-peaceful relationship between some of the country’s pastoralists and arable crop farmers who ideally must work together to boost the nation’s agricultural productivity is the resultant consequences of federal government’s neglect of livestock sector in the process of policy formulation and execution”, Bello frowned.
To reverse the ugly trend, the National President suggested that, whenever government is epitomising agricultural policies, it should endeavour to protect the interest of the pastoralists alongside that of the farmers as that will assist in striking a balance between the twin brothers, hence lessen then consequential friction existing between them.
“Government is advised to ensure that farmers and herders are treated equally in terms of groups’ interest more especially when the government is empowering them.
“Both farmers and herders are to be provided with adequate security for their lives and that of their property as enshrined in the Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution,” he urged.
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