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Agricultural Science Paper 2, May/June 2010  
Questions: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10   Main
General Comments
Weakness/Remedies
Strength

Question 4

(a) Give two reasons for each of the following practices undertaken by some West African farmers.
(i) movement of herdsmen and their flocks southwards to the rain forest zone during the dry season.  [ 4 marks]
(ii) preference for the use of simple farm tools over farm machinery.  [ 4 marks]
(b) (i) identify four problems associated with the movement of herdsmen. [4 marks]
(ii) Suggest a solution to each of the problems.[4 marks]

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OBSERVATION
This question was not popular with the candidates. In question 4(a)(i & ii), majority of the
candidates could not give the reasons for the movement of herdsmen and their flocks southwards
to the rain forest zone during the dry season. Similarly, they could not give reasons for the
preference for the use of simple farm tools over farm machinery by some West African farmers.
Further to this, many candidates were unable to identify the problems associated with the
movement of herdsmen and suggest solutions to the problems.
The expected answers include:
Reasons for some practices undertaken by some West African farmers:
Movement of herdsmen southwards during the dry season
Abundance of forage in the south but scarcity of forage in the north because of the unequal
rainfall distribution in the dry season
Water scarcity in the north during the dry season forces them to move their animals
southwards in search of water.
Preference for the use of simple farm tools:
High cost of farm machinery/inadequate capital
Low level of technical know-how on how to operate and maintain modem machines
High cost of spare parts
Land tenure system fragments farmlands and this discourages large-scale mechanized farming
Simple farm tools are much more readily available
They are also affordable
Easy to maintain
Easy to use
Spare parts are not readily available
Problems associated with the movement of herdsmen:
Exposes animals to natural hazards
Death of animals due to fatigue of travelling long distance
Movement of animals causes destruction ofthe soil structure (compaction)
New diseases are easily introduced into another area
Indiscriminate mating in the herds leading to the transmission of undesirable traits
Diseases spread easily within the herds
Animals cause damage to cultivated crops along their route
Damage to crops brings about serious conflict/clashes between the herdsmen and the local farmers
It exposes the herdsmen to dangers such as extremes of climatic conditions, wild animals, diseases and armed banditry attacks
New pests are easily introduced into another area
It encourages cattle rustling
Neglect of formal education for the children of herdsmen.
Solution to the problems of the herdsmen movement
Provision of adequate security against theft
Disease/pest resistant animals should be reared
Provision of nomadic schools in strategic locations
Provision of irrigation facilities during the dry season in the north/savannah region to help in the artificial pastures
Establishment of grazing reserves at strategic locations in the north by government/ranching
Preservation of fodder which are in abundance in the south into hay and silage and
transported to the north during the dry season
Provision of cattle tracks/paths for easy passage of herds to prevent destruction of crops along their route
Castration of animals with undesirable traits long before the journey
Payment of compensation for damage caused to crops
Both herdsmen and animals should be vaccinated regularly
Note: Solutions to problems must match the problems.

 

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