Tuesday 26 April 2016

Technology as Panacea to Herdsmen/Farmers Clashes

Fulani Herdsmen
by: Crusoe Osagie

The numerous threats, which Nigeria faces will make even the most optimistic person raise some doubt about the nation’s future.

The list of these threats is endless with the likes of the Niger Delta militants, Boko Haram terrorist, Biafran agitators and the Herdsmen/farmers crisis leading the pack.

The unfortunate thing about these problems however, is that if nipped in the bud, most of them would not have degenerated to the point where lives were lost.

Ancient Animal Herding

The herdsmen/farmers frequent face-off across the country for example, according to experts, are absolutely needless occurrences if simple steps were taken on time.

Nigeria is yet to become self-sufficient in meat and dairy production and consumption, despite her huge livestock potential.

The huge loss of earnings and job losses in addition to the unwarranted killings and destruction of crops and property from the Herdsmen/Farmers crisis, cattle rustling to mention a few are shaking the country to its marrow.

A deeper look at the crisis shows that the lack of appropriate technology and innovation suitable for the traditional cattle farmers and their modern counterparts is actually the bane of the sector’s performance as well as the cause of the ensuing mayhem.

For certain, the much talked about diversification of the economy needs to begin from this sector. If appropriate technique to enable the country harness the abundant opportunities are immediately deployed, a lot can change.

The recent understanding reached between President, Muhammadu Buhari and state governors to establish Ranches and/or Grazing parks around the country as a way out of the crisis might provide some succour if the political aspects are properly handled, but beyond settling the crisis, it is important to note that the reason for the lingering crisis is that Nigeria has overlooked the importance of developing the beef and dairy sector in line with modern production techniques.

In Nigeria, we still have cattle moving within bushes, city highways, airport runways and the rest. It is high time we used the technological approach in solving these challenges.

So much can be achieved in reviving the nation’s economy if modern production techniques are brought into this sector.

New Solution

According to an expert and Chief Executive of Fodder Green Technologies Group, Mr. Edward Mba, his company has articulated the problems, proffered some workable solutions through a business model concept comprising of Fresh Livestock Feed Production Technologies and Structured Training with the hope of partnering with the Nigerian government in moving the economy forward through the process it has put together.

The model, called Fodder Green Technologies Limited (FGTL), is a fully incorporated Nigerian company aimed at promoting improved animal husbandry in Nigeria through the provision of fresh and baled livestock feed production technologies, training and business models in agriculture.

The company is licensed to represent Fodder Solutions of Australia in West Africa.

Fodder Solutions make a climate controlled growing chamber to meet livestock feed requirements of the small to the large -scale farmers.

The company handles modern livestock technology development, packaging and delivery, along with a array of activities in the livestock value chain.

Imagine a system which produces pasture for cattle in a matter of hours or a few days.

The science is called hydroponics. It is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrients solutions and water without soil. It is a technique where the physiological requirements of plants can be met without the use of soil and natural sunlight.

In the conventional system, soil acts as a mineral nutrient reservoir but the soil itself is not essential to plant growth. In hydroponics, favourable conditions are provided to the seed and food is directly supplied to the sprout. Hydroponics works well because; the plant gets exactly what it needs, when it needs it, making it as healthy as possible. It therefore grows faster, better and yields more as the roots do not have to struggle for nutrients.

Hydroponics techniques have proven to be very useful and efficient for producing food for livestock.

This technique is probably the most intensive method of crop production in today’s agricultural industry. With the possibility of adjusting air and root temperature, light, water, plant nutrition and adverse climate, hydroponics agriculture can be made highly productive, conservative of water, land and protective of the environment.

The advantages of hydroponics agriculture include but not limited to control over plant nutrition and therefore increased production, stable harvests of high quality fresh feeds which is available all the year round and can be produced on an industrial scale; the food that is available is free from undesirable materials such as weeds, insects, dust, insecticides, germicides, carcinogens and radioactive substances.

Fodder Solutions Tech

Fodder Solutions feed production technology depends on hydroponics. It is a climate controlled growing system that guarantees daily production of highly nutritious fresh livestock feed. The process is a versatile and intensive hydroponic growing unit where only seed (maize, millet, sorghum, alfalfa, barley, oats, etc), water and nutrients are used to produce grass and root combination very lush and high in nutrients on a daily basis.

Imagine taking weather, soil and the rest out of the equation for planting and harvesting. Livestock feed are grown without soil, sunlight, chemicals, fertilisers or farm machinery.

The seeds grow on the Fodder Solutions’ specially designed sprouting trays with no growing medium. Quality animal feeds (fodder) germinate within 24 hours of seeding in the same tray for 6-days. The sprouts have been tested at every growth stage and it has been discovered that the peak spectrum of the nutrients is available at the sixth day growth stage; this is when the sprouts are harvested at a 15cm – 30cm high grass mat. Sprout feeding is an economical option allowing farmers grow their own feed 365 days a year (regardless of weather conditions). Because the feed is hydroponically grown, it is fresh and clean, free of any contaminants, including pesticides and herbicides.

The application of Fodder Solution Technology by a farmer utilising 1kg of grain like maize, millet, sorghum, alfalfa, oats, and/or barley etc can produce a 7-10kg fresh fodder in just six days.


Some of the benefits, which Nigerian herders desperately need include high reduction in labour and removal of the risks associated with rearing of animals.

It is also high yielding in small area of land; low water consumption (borehole can serve as source of water) and time saving.

If our herdsmen take advantage of this technology with the support of government it may very well be the beginning of the end of needless nomadism and all its associated risks and conflicts.

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