PASTORAL AND NOMADIC FARMING
Pastoral farming: This is a system of farming whereby grazing animals such as cattle, sheep and goats are kept. The farmer who is known as the herdsman may manage his animals by moving them from one place to another, in search of fresh grazing area (nomadic herding) or by settling them in an organised place (ranch), where they are properly cared for and provided for. During the movement period, the animals are often exposed to a lot of danger such as sustaining injuries, pests and disease attacks, etc.
Nomadic farming: This is essentially the movement of the herdsman and his flock from one place to another, in search of food and water. It can also be a movement away from areas of pest and disease infestation. For example, the cattle Fulani move their stock from the Northern part of Nigeria toward the Southern part, in search of water and green grass, where they can feed during the dry season when the grasses in the North must have dried up.
Reasons for Movement of Herdsmen Southwards during Dry Season
- Abundance of forage in the south but scarcity of forage in the north because of the unequal rainfall distribution in the dry season.
- Water scarcity in the north during the dry season forces them to move their animals southwards in search of water.
Problems associated with the movement of herdsmen
- Exposes animals to natural hazards.
- Death of animals due to fatigue of travelling long distance.
- Movement of animals causes destruction of the soil structure (compaction).
- New diseases are easily introduced into another area.
- Indiscriminate mating in the herds leading to the transmission of undesirable traits.
- Diseases spread easily within the herds.
- Animals cause damage to cultivated crops along their route.
- Damage to crops brings about serious conflict/clashes between the herdsmen and local farmers.
- It exposes the herdsmen to dangers such as extremes of climatic conditions, wild animals, diseases and armed banditry attacks.
- New pests are easily introduced into another area.
- It encourages cattle rustling.
- Neglect of formal education for the children of herdsmen.
Solutions to the problems of the herdsmen movement
- Provision of adequate security against theft.
- Disease/pest-resistant animals should be reared.
- Provision of nomadic schools in strategic locations.
- Provision of irrigation facilities during the dry season in the north/savannah region to help in the artificial pastures.
- Establishment of grazing reserves at strategic locations in the north by government, which is ranching.
- Preservation of fodder which are in abundance in the south into hay and silage and transported to the north during the dry season.
- Provision of cattle tracks / paths for easy passage of herds to prevent destruction of crops along their route.
- Castration of animals with undesirable traits long before the journey.
- Payment of compensation for damage caused to crops.
- Both herdsmen and animals should be vaccinated regularly.
The movement of the stock enables the animals feed in areas where water and food are available, thereby preventing the animals from starvation and death.
- Very poor quality and undersized animals are produced.
- There is no pasture management.
- No regular supply of food and water.
- Animals are exposed to injuries, pests, diseases and death.
- The herdsmen are equally exposed to all sorts of danger and death.
- Clashes often occur between the herdsmen and crop farmers during migration and grazing when animals graze and destroy crops.