From Magnus Eze, Abuja
Nigeria loses about $14 billion to disputes between farmers and pastoralists in the Middle Belt region, according to new DFID funded research by the global humanitarian organisation, Mercy Corps.
This was as Agriculture and Rural Development Minister; Chief Audu Ogbeh said the conflicts were not really connected to grazing reserves but stock route.
Ogbeh, who was represented by Mr. Mohammed Ahman, noted that 415 grazing reserves exist in the country.
According to the report launched yesterday in Abuja, the country would stand to gain up to $13.7 billion annually in total macroeconomic progress if peace were maintained in four Middle Belt states alone.
Skirmishes between famers and pastoralists typically arise from disputes over the use of resources such as farmland, grazing areas and water.
Ms Iveta Ouvry, Mercy Corps country director said “while Boko Haram violence in the North East garners the majority of media attention, the study shows that on-going, low-level conflict is thwarting the country’s economic development to an enormous extent.
“We found that the average household affected by conflict today could see income increase by at least 64 per cent, and potentially 210 per cent or higher, if conflicts were resolved.”
The Mercy Corps study examined the effects of conflict and potential peace on national and state revenues, as well as on household economics, while also examining the capacity of local communities to respond effectively.
Mercy Corps urged the Federal Government and international donors to quickly increase investment to resolve inter-communal clashes in Nigeria and to ensure conflict management and livelihood development strategies to positively reinforce each other.
The new Mercy Corps research, part of a conflict management program funded by the UK Department for International Development, is based on statistical analysis of conflict and revenue data sets, household surveys and interviews conducted in 2014 and focused on the Nigerian states of Benue, Kaduna, Nasarawa and Plateau.