The farmer and the cowman, the musical Oklahoma tells us, should be friends. Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, a remarkable young African woman who campaigns for land rights for her pastoralist Mbororo people, would agree.
She believes grazing and cultivating communities can benefit each other, in a traditional seasonal synergy. “It starts with cowshit,” she explains disarmingly. The dung dropped by the Mbororo’s cattle, roaming vast areas across Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and the Central African Republic, is an essential source of fertility for crops after they have moved on.