Farmer-herder relations and conflict management in agro-pastoral zone of Niger | Land Portal

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Date of publication: 
November 2006
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Farmer-herder conflicts are enduring features of social life in the Sudano-Sahelian zone.

A survey was carried out between August and December 2004 in four sites in Niger,

namely Bokki, Katanga, Sabon Gida and Tountoubé to determine the proximate and

long-term causes of conflict over natural resource use, to evaluate the appropriateness of

existing institutional arrangements for managing conflicts and identify innovative options

and incentives to reduce the incidence and severity of conflicts. The research was

implemented in three phases: (1) collection of village and household level socioeconomic

information, (2) social network mapping, and (3) collection of conflict history

and conflict management strategies. Additionally, governmental and NGO agencies in

Niamey that address conflict management and/or resolution at the regional and national

levels were interviewed. The research employed both quantitative and qualitative survey

instruments. Surveys collected information on: historical micro-geographies of cropping

and herding in the area encompassing village territory; local day-to-day relationships

between transhumance herders, settled herders, and farming households at the study site;

nodes of communication under different types of disagreements and negotiative settings;

documentation of past conflicts and role of government officials, customary authorities

and NGOs in conflict management. Results from this study showed that in all sites,

damage to crops was the first reported cause of conflict between farmers and herders.

Crop damage is not limited to damage to growing crops on the field but also included

unauthorized grazing of crop residues after harvest. Other causes of conflict reported

were access to watering points, expansion of crop fields across corridors for animal

passage and thefts of animal. The ability of rural communities to prevent and manage

conflict is largely based on the strength of networks of communication between herding

and farming interests, respected community leaders, and leaders in neighboring

communities. Overall, the local institutional arrangements are functional and a high

percentage of conflicts are effectively managed at local levels. In all the study sites

except Bokki, there was a high level of involvement of internal mediators.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 
Turner, M.D. Patterson, E.D. Patterson, K.P. Ayantunde, Augustine, A

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