Land Capability/Suitability Mapping and Burning Issues of Cattle Grazing in Nigeria: Case study of Old Imo State in South Eastern Nigeria

Authors: Joshua Ogbonna*, Abia State University
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems, Land Use, Agricultural Geography
Keywords: GIS, land capability/suitability, Old Imo State, cattle rustlers, uncontrolled grazing
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Stones Throw 3 - Mica, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This work is an exposition to the burning issues of cattle grazing in the Old Imo State, Nigeria which comprises Abia, Imo, part of Anambra and Ebonyi States. We used the Geographic Information System as the platforms for creating scenarios in identifying land capability/suitability of all lands for agriculture, and population/agricultural land ratio vis-à-vis grazing. From 2011 to 2018, cattle rustlers killed 3,600 farmers in Zamfara state. From 2015 to 2018, at least 90,000 farmers were displaced in Kaduna, Benue and Plateau states. The above scenario presents a little summary of the situation in the north central. The SE Nigeria where Old Imo State is domiciled is an area with fragile soil type with high gully erosion threat which is compounded with high population density of farmer leading to over-exploitation. This study shows that 70% of the land areas are gully erosion prone with average annual erosion growth rate of 0.72 in an environment where 90% of the population are farmers. Despite this poor yield caused by overpopulation, cattle rustlers are seen indiscriminately over-running the lands carrying AK 47 to fight any resistance without recourse to land/population equation and their well-being. This work exposed the land capability/suitability of the region vis-a-vis the population equation, to see if there is land available in the Region for grazing reserves or corridor as to quell the impending crises by cattle rustlers. Results show that 98.9% of the lands are over-cropped due to extreme population pressure, and hence uncontrolled grazing cannot be feasible here.

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