A Farmer’s 911 Service
I own a farm in Tunga, Nasarawa state where I have been farming rice successfully for a few years. During this period, I experienced certain challenges, some within my control, others beyond me.
One of the most memorable experiences I had on the farm occurred in 2015, when cattle herded by men of Fulani ethnicity trespassed and destroyed a substantial portion of the farm. The natural instinct of my employees on the farm was to fight, but I figured that it would be counterproductive. Thus, I hired the Cattle Herders as security for the farm and subsequently created the “Farm Out of Poverty” initiative, with the vision/aim of training an average of 100 Fulani women in Rice production annually.
Despite the odds, this initiative was a success as we met our goals. However, like any new or foreign idea, it was met with resistance. One of such limitations was that other farming communities were reluctant to buy into my idea of incorporating this minority group into farm operations as a way of empowering them which, ceteris paribus, will help foster peaceful coexistence. As a result of this, my farm suffered from imported issues from neighbouring communities.
The farm is located 50 meters away from the River Benue. What should have served as an advantage proved to be quite the opposite. Across the river to the left is Wukari, Taraba state, a place renowned for clashes between the Jukun and Tiv Tribe, and to my right is Benue, again renowned for clashes between the Tiv and Cattle Herders.
On the 1st of January 2018, over 70 persons were killed across Logo and Guma Local Governments in Benue state and it was later established that the attackers set-off from my farming community across the River Benue, in Tunga, Nasarrawa state, and carried out these killings. This led to an influx of displaced people to my farming community, raising tensions and fear of reprisal, therefore, making it difficult to raise funds for farming given the risk.
The security situation in these areas are still deemed volatile which is hampering my ability to continue farming. Armed with the knowledge of the implications of this volatility on my farm and surrounding farming communities, I made the decision to take a closer look into these conflicts in order to have a deeper understanding of the issues with the possibility of working towards a solution.
I wanted a solution that could tackle the security issues in these local communities, as well as foster peace. I wanted a system where the average farmer could feel safe and confident of profits from his farm in the nearest future. To make this happen, the next direction for me was to leverage technology as a tool to get the system running.
I teamed up with Joseph Agunbiade as Co-founder and CTO, who shares the same passion for conflict resolution, to create a solution that addresses these problems. This birthed Resolute 4.0 in June 2019, a think-tank that uses technology to address communal conflict. Asides being a Smartphone app, it’s an entire system that assures these communities of rapid response to security and health issues.
By A Farmer, For Farmers
Resolute 4.0 did its pilot in the rural community of Basa in Plateau state, which has about 190,000 inhabitants. We realized that the community people – people that were frequently attacked, needed this. So we distributed Samsung phones with the app pre-installed so they could easily start using it.
Neighbouring communities started requesting to be on Resolute 4.0 so they too could be covered. For those who already had Smartphones, they were sent the downloadable file since it’s not publicly available in app stores.
On the app, those affected can push a panic button and will receive rapid response from the military or health professionals, depending on the issue. This is made possible through an internal system that alerts each party when needed. We respond to issues ranging from farmer-herder clashes to general communal conflicts, which could lead to loss of property or life. The system liaises with hospitals to ensure that once someone has been shot or injured in conflict, the hospital is ready to receive them, thus reducing response time.
Asides this, the system also gathers other data to improve the lives of these farmers. The plan is to use this data to create easy solutions to help them thrive, such as direction on how to map their farms, as well as a marketplace to trade their produce.
So far, Resolute 4.0 has responded to 161 panic alerts. It’s a 911 service for farmers in rural areas and is looking to expand operations to other communities through support from like-minded individuals. As the system grows, it’ll continue to adapt to the needs of people in the rural areas using technology and data.
Rotimi Williams is a farmer and former journalist. He owns Kereksuk Rice Farm in Nassarawa State which is the second largest commercial rice farm in Nigeria by land size. He was an analyst at the European Economics and Financial Centre in London in 2007. He moved on to be an African contributor at Euromoney Magazine in 2008. He moved on to work at First City Monument Bank in 2008 where he said his concerns for the agricultural sector started growing as the bank would not adopt policies and gain inroads into the agricultural industry. He is currently the founder of Resolute 4.0, a solution that addresses communal conflict in rural areas in Nigeria.