"Necessity Is The Mother Of Invention"
Woke up to the news that a 56 year old Fulani herdsman committed suicide by jumping into River Benue following the death of 200 of his cows due to hunger and lack of water.
According to the leader of cattle breeders in Benue State, Garus Gololo, the man was frustrated after not being able to feed his cattle because of the ban on open grazing in Benue State, adding since the commencement of ban, over 600 cows have been lost in similar circumstances.
Whilst I'm saddened by the loss of life, I see this situation, the need for food and water for cattle as a perfect catalyst for Fulani herdsmen to try something new in the right direction.
"Necessity is the mother of invention" is an English-language proverb which means that the primary driving force for most new inventions is a need. When the need for something becomes essential, you are forced to find ways of getting or achieving it.
That new way in this case is ranching and it cannot be overemphasized. The practice of moving cattle from pillar to post, all over the country in search of greener pastures has already proved abortive with incessant clashes between herdsmen and host communities.
On the other hand, the benefits of ranching are incomparable to the loses of the status quo. It will bring peace between herders and farmers. Farmers will enjoy better yields and on the other hand, herders and cattle breeders will see a boost in meat and milk production with the chance to introduce hybrid cattle species that will reduce expenditure while improving income. Farmers will produce and sell hay for consumption by ranched cattle while herdsmen will collect and sell cow dung as organic fertiliser to farmers. The possibilities for collaboration and economic growth is endless, in addition to the huge boost to national peace this effort will bring.
Usha Anenga is a Medical Doctor and sociopolitical commentator. He writes from Makurdi, Benue State.