"Gefu (1988) noted that all projects embarked upon after World War II was state-sponsored, with foreign agencies contributing part of the capital. Enclosed systems represent a powerful ideology, and the history of colonial and post-colonial development and command economies is littered with failed attempts to introduce them throughout both the dry tropics and the temperate grasslands of Eurasia. In Nigeria, such systems have had a long and unsuccessful history dating back to the early colonial era (e.g. Dunbar, 1970);
Should (and can) the Nigerian governments afford to venture into such abortive Ranching option in this economic depression era? No. Ranching should be a private initiative and responsibility of private commercial livestock farmers of all tribes"
RANCHES, GRAZING RESERVES AND (FULANI) PASTORALISM IN NIGERIA: PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
BABALOBI, OLUTAYO OLAJIDE (DVM, MPVM, PHD; FCVSN), LECTURER, RESEARCHER AND CONSULTANT EPIZOOTIOLOGIST, DEPARTMENT OF VETERINARY PUBLIC HEALTH AND PREVENTIVE MEDICINE, FACULTY OF VETERINARY MEDICINE, UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN, IBADAN, NIGERIA May 2016
THE NATURE AND STATE OF PASTORALISM IN NIGERIA
Pastoralism is a form of livestock Production economy consisting on primary reliance on the production of domestic animals (cattle, sheep and goat) for at least 50% of a family’s subsistence (Frantz 1980, Salmon 1980). Pastoralists are a group of people for whom pastoral activities (herding and care of animals) account for more than 70% of working time and provide more than 50% of total family. Apart from being an economic activity, it also has important socioeconomic, sociocultural and political significance.
The socioeconomic importance is due to its provision of employment, food and income for pastoralists and their household (wives, children and dependents). The sociocultural importance is embodied in at least two cultural values central to the identity of the (Fulbe) pastoralist. These values are “Pulaaku” (essence of being Fulbe) and “nai” (cattle) (see VerEecke 1991). The political influence is found in the nomadic Fulani’s penchant to align with and influence local authorities, while attempting to dominate local ethnic land owing crop farmers. The prize is unhindered access to grazing land
This penchant is the reason for the Fulani pastoral support for Othman Dan Fodio in his 19th century Jihad in Northern Nigeria (SLDP 1985). It is also responsible for the annual recurrent clashes between crop farmers and cattle rearers for land, previously only in the north and middle belt zones of Nigeria, but now also in the southwestern and southeastern zones.
In West Africa, the Fulºe cattle nomads in the Sahelian region began a jihad in 1804, conquering the seven original Hausa kingdoms of today's northern Nigeria and pushing eastwards to today's northern Cameroon. They settled as rulers of the kingdoms they conquered, dispensed with their cattle and, in most cases, switched to the language of the peoples of their empire. Meanwhile, their "brothers", who still herded cattle, migrated still further into Central Africa, impelled onwards by ever-increasing arable expansion (FAO 2011).
There are at least six major groups of pastoralists in Nigeria (Awogbade 1988, Falobi 1998) as follows
- Nomadic (Transient) Pastoralists: This group of extensive (long range) seasonal movement with no permanent place of residence and no regular crop cultivation is practiced by Fulani pastoralists. They move their animals generally in the southwards direction during the dry season and return back north during the rains. Observation show that pastoral nomadism is contracting rapidly in the north and gradually expanding in the middle belt and southern states; a linkage very crucial for future policy programme on animal production (in Nigeria) (Awogbade 1988).
- Semi-nomadic, Transhumant Pastoralist: This group of Pastoralists have a permanent base where the elders may stay throughout the year with some of the livestock (essentially the wet herds – lactating cows and calves) and engage in some form of arable cultivation for domestic consumption by hiring laborers to clear farm land but do the planting and harvesting themselves. They migrate on limited well known routes. In comparism with the transient group, they keep relatively smaller herds and maintain longstanding relationship with arable farmers including renting land and sale of milk for grain exchanges.
- Semi-settled Transhumant Agropastoralists: This group has a permanent place of residence and practices some supplementary cultivation for food production. They usually move their animals out in search of grazing and water towards the end of the dry season. They soon integrate into the socio-economic and political activities of the area where they reside.
- Settled Agropastoralists (also known as mixed farmers): This group lives continuously in permanent settlements all year round with their herds grazing within the vicinity of homestead. They practice arable farming in addition to livestock husbandry of smaller herd size and thus referred to as ‘Mixed Farmers’. Their leaders enjoy political cleavage in areas where they reside that is often exclusive preserve of settled arable farmers, using this political advantage to secure customary rights to the land the own. Awogbade and Baba (1992) has submitted that Agropastoralism (mixed farming) as a viable option to nomadism appears to hold the key to livestock (pastoral development).
- Peasant pastoralist or cattle-keeping farmer: essentially a farmer who has primary claim to land resources on which livestock can graze uncontested. Herding is not his specialty and as such leaves his herd in the care of Agropastoralists.
- The Urban pastoralist: emerging crop of wealthy northern Nigerians (mainly but not only Hausa-Fulani) who have systematically transferred the wealth into livestock. Initially the animals are kept in care of settled pastoralists but as the herds’ increases, it becomes necessary to engage herdsmen (not exclusively Fulani) to care for the herd (including migration when necessary). Recent information holds these modern urban pastoralists responsible for the heavy arming of migratory herdsmen that is a common experience all over the country). This group has been encouraged into livestock production by the Land Use Act of 1978 in which provision is made for individual Nigerians to acquire up to 5,000 acres for grazing purposes (Awogbade 1988).
The International Livestock Center for Africa (ILCA 1979) estimated 30% of pastoralists are fully settled, 50% are semi-nomadic and only 20% are fully nomadic. The semi-nomadic practice transhumance while the nomadic have no fixed abode, moving their animals from place to place, according to pasturage or food supply (Suleiman 1988). A recent PhD study in Niger state, north-central Nigeria among nine pastoral communities in the three agro-geographical zones reported Majority (64.8%) was of Fulani tribe and most (66.4%) were nomadic pastoralists. Other tribes that participated in the survey were Nupe (7.2%), Hausa (12.8%) and other tribes (15.2%), who were sedentary pastoralists (Alhaji 2015)
RANCHING (AND ENCLOSED PRODUCTION SYSTEM)
As well as the traditional pastoral systems described above, there is a system of extensive livestock production, which can be described as enclosed systems or ranching, i.e. the land is individually owned and usually fenced (FAO 2011). In Nigeria, such systems have had a long and unsuccessful history dating back to the early colonial era (e.g. Dunbar, 1970).
According to Gefu 1988, Commercial Ranching began with the establishment of the African Ranches Limited. The performance of the Ranch was not favorable when compared with that of pastoral Fulani and was forced out of business and sold its assets in 1923. Immediately after independence, several ranches were created in collaboration with international agencies. They included:
- The Bornu (Breeding) Ranch, a US AID project, about 35 kilometers southeast of Maiduguri in the Gombole Forest Reserve which began in 1963
- The Manchok (Fattening) Ranch in a previously unused area of the West of Jos Plateau, also a US AID project started in 1963
- The Mokwa Ranch, not only a “fattening ranch” but a research station as well. A German venture established in 1964 on lands which were involved in the ill-fatted Niger Agricultural Project in the early 50’s
Elsewhere in Africa, the late 1960s saw the renewal of hopeful introductions and equally convincing failures (e.g. Galaty, 1994: 190). Livestock ranches have an interesting history in Southern Africa; in the colonial era they were established in Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa. Although a substantial proportion of these remain, in many places they have been perceived as an unacceptable concentration of land in the hands of a single owner and there is a gradual reversion to more traditional tenure systems. In Zimbabwe, for example, smallholder settlers are invading large livestock enterprises with the tacit approval of government (FAO 2011)
Gefu (1988) noted that all projects embarked upon after World War II was state-sponsored, with foreign agencies contributing part of the capital. Enclosed systems represent a powerful ideology, and the history of colonial and post-colonial development and command economies is littered with failed attempts to introduce them throughout both the dry tropics and the temperate grasslands of Eurasia. In Nigeria, such systems have had a long and unsuccessful history dating back to the early colonial era (e.g. Dunbar, 1970);
Should (and can) the Nigerian governments afford to venture into such abortive Ranching option in this economic depression era? No. Ranching should be a private initiative and responsibility of private commercial livestock farmers of all tribes
HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF GRAZING RESERVE IN NIGERIA
The grazing reserve concept in Nigeria had its earlier precedence from the practice of setting aside ‘hurmis' (grazing grounds) for nomads near towns in both Kano and Katsina emirates after the Fulani conquest of the 1880's. This was a political pay-off for the participation of the nomadic pastoralists in the Jihad conquests of that period (Okayeito et al 1988)
The grazing Reserve concept/project involve the gazzetting, demarcation and development of grazing reserves by the provision of the basic needs of herdsmen and their needs such as pasture, feed supplements , water resources (boreholes and dams, marketing outlets and other infrastructure. It was envisaged that livestock improvement efforts (e.g. stock upgrading, cross-breeding and restocking) would be enhanced. The objective was to utilize an area to demonstrate to the pastoralist that a sustained high level of development can be achieved by combining (free) range management techniques with modern management practices (Awogbade and Famoriyo 1983).
By the envisaged adoption of these modern production methods, traditional sector production and the economic well-being of the producers are expected to improve (SLDP 1985, NLPD 1988). The long-term goal is (was) to change nomadic pastoralist to settled and semi-settled agro-pastoralist and ultimately Mixed Farmers (Mixed Farming is a system of farming is a system of farming in which crop growing is combined with keeping livestock for profit)
Of all proposed government activities in the livestock subsector, establishment of grazing Reserves appeared emphasized most (Gefu 1988). The grazing reserve concept originated from a study conducted in 1954 to review Fulani pastoralists. In the IBRD/World Bank 1954 Review Team Report, ‘stabilizing’ the pastoral mode of production was suggested as the most important factor in the expansion and modernization of modern production. The recommendation also formed the basis of a consolidated programme in the then Northern region named “Fulani Amenities Proposal”.
A bill to legitimize this proposal was passed in 1965 and called “Grazing Reserve Law of Northern Nigeria”. The law empowered the then Ministry of Animal and Forest Resources, and Native authorities, to acquire, preserve, control and manage grazing resources. In this way, the grazing rights of nomadic cattle owners could be fully protected by law and all year resources of pastoralists provided. The cost of the proposal was put at 3.5 million pound (SLDP 1985, Gefu 1988, Suleiman 1988)
Specific development actions recommended were
a) Establishment of Grazing Reserves, protected by law, where cultivation will be restricted under permit; and legal rights given, subject to supervision
b) Study of pastoral Fulani with the possibility of giving them land rights
c) Development of communal village grazing reserves as a means of bringing livestock into peasant farming system
The recommendation of the World Bank Team was accepted and shortly after independence the first Grazing Reserve, the Rumar-Kukar-Jangari was established in 1964 by the Northern Region government as a result of the merging of the Rumar and Jangari forest Reserves at Kukar in the present Katsina State (Okoh et al 1988). Similar conversions took place at Wase, Zamfara and Udobo Forest Results in tsetse free areas of Northern Nigeria; Controlled grazing reserve development began in these reserves with technical and financial support from the US Agency for International Development USAID (Awogbade 1988).
At the start of the Second National Development Plan in 1970-1980, the Grazing Reserve concept became a national development Strategy for cattle production and was reflected as the major pastoral development strategy in the Second, Third (1975-1980) and Fourth National Development Plan (1980 - 1985); as well as the First (1976-1983) and Second Livestock Development Programme FLDP (1976- 1983) and SLDP (1987-1995). For example, the Third National Development Plan (1975-1980) proposed the establishment of a total of 22 million hectares in grazing reserves. By end of 1977, (only) 2 million hectares had acquired by both the state and Federal governments (Gefu 1988).
The broad objective of the 1988 National Agricultural Policy is a systematic improvement of the national production system by expanding the livestock resource based and increasing the production of existing traditional resources. Also the policy specifies that a minimum of 10% of Nigeria’s land area be legally acquired for lease allocation grazers. The present Minister Audu Ogbeh has declared openly that President Buhari had directed that 50,000 hectares be acquired in all the 36 States of Nigeria- a directive hailed by some northern Governors and rebuffed by most southern Governors
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The future of pastoralism will depend heavily on political decisions made by national governments in countries with extensive grasslands. Enclosed pastures (Ranches) are unlikely to see any significant extension, but conditions for existing pastoralists will become more difficult as both farmers and the conservation lobby expropriate land. Work with pastoralists, and a more sympathetic understanding of their production (FAO 2011)
FAO (2011) has noted that given the forces ranged against it, it is perhaps surprising that pastoralism has survived at all. However, pastoral production systems do have some features in their favor, including flexibility, low costs, freedom of movement, light regulatory environment and operation in regions that is unsuitable for agriculture. Pastoralists have long-term flexibility that is based on their ability to exploit patchy resources. It has often been observed that, the more nomadic pastoralists are, the better they are able to survive climatic catastrophes such as blizzards and droughts (see e.g. the accounts in Gallais, 1984 of the Sahelian drought of the early 1970s). However, they are also able to
- switch species (as Jordanian Bedu switched almost entirely from camels to sheep in the period 1970-1995),
- switch from main saleable output (as Fulºe in the Igbo areas of Nigeria have switched from dairying to meat production) or
- Even entirely out of pastoralism for a period.
The main challenge and responsibility in Nigeria lie with the urban pastoralist: emerging crop of wealthy northern Nigerians (mainly but not only Hausa-Fulani) who have systematically transferred the wealth into livestock. They include retired military men, top civil servants, politicians and business men. Recent information holds these modern urban pastoralists responsible for the heavy arming of migratory herdsmen that is a common experience all over the country).
In addition, just as it been a norm to divert allocated fuel to neighboring countries thereby causing fuel shortage and excruciating fuel queue in Nigeria, foreign alien Fulani nomadic pastoralist, still migrate from neighboring West African counties further into Central Africa, impelled onwards by ever-increasing arable expansion (Falobi 1998, FAO 2011).
The insistence of the Federal Government implementing the Grazing Reserve concept as indicated in past pastoral development agenda including the 1988 National Agricultural Policy of Nigeria is not economically feasible, politically expedient, environmentally realistic or peace seeking. It has the marks of ethnic bias and political muscling which will only endear strife and conflict in the nation.
Likewise Ranching touted popularly as an alternative must be strictly a commercial non-government private initiative. Studies and informed opinion across Africa (e.g. Scoones 1996, FAO 2011) indicate that in terms of productivity per unit animal, the traditional pastoral system produce more than the Western type of Ranching system (Nuru 1988)
In face of the reality of dwindled natural grazing land that will only get worse with envisaged population increase, the most realistic option for the present and future appears to be the settled Agropastoralism (Mixed Farming) option, earlier espoused as far back as 1992 by Awogbade and Baba (1992) who has submitted that Agropastoralism (mixed farming) as a viable option to nomadism appears to hold the key to livestock (pastoral development).
This call for a review of the option to identify and respond appropriately to factors that caused its earlier failure due to rejection by the pastoral Fulani (see Okayeito 1982).
- Gefu J.O., Adu I.F., Lufadeju E.A., Kallah M.S and Awogbade M. O. 1988: Pastoralism in Nigeria: Past, Present and Future. Proceedings of National Conference on Pastoralism in Nigeria 26-2th June 1988. Published by National Animal Production Research Institute NAPRI, Zaria
- Falobi O. O., 1998: Epizootiology and the use of Grazing Reserves for the Development of Pastoralism in Nigeria. A PhD thesis in the Department of Veterinary Public Health and Preventive Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan Nigeria May 1998- My PhD thesis
- FAO 2001: Pastoralism in the new millennium http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/Y2647E/y2647e14.htm#
- 2006 First Announcement. International Conference on the future of Transhumance Pastoralism in West and Central Africa Abuja, Nigeria November 20-24, 2006. Theme: The pastoral food and product chain: Strategies, dynamics, conflicts and interventions. NAPRI website
- Babalobi O. O. (2011). A Participatory Epizootiology Research of Settled Pastoralists in Igangan Grazing Reserve, Southern Guinea Agro-Pastoral Zone, Oyo State, Nigeria: First Report. Nigerian Veterinary Journal, Vol. 32. (1). 16-20.
- A 2012 Masters (Alhaji 2011) and a recently completed PhD thesis (Alhaji 2015) of the University of Ibadan, both supervised by the author, using pastoral communities in Niger State, North-Central Nigeria as Case Studies.
Alive by His Grace for His Glory and His Purpose!