•Food Insecurity Imminent
Compared to other lingering challenges confronting the agriculture sector, armed banditry, farmers/herders clashes and other forms of onslaught on farmers have become a serious threat to Nigeria’s food security dream.
Over the years, countless number of farmers in the agrarian communities were killed and maimed, just as others were kidnapped. While farm settlements have been ravaged, those who survived the attacks abandoned their farmlands and currently taking solace at different Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps across the country.
Indeed, this has impacted food production, as a good number of the states known for massive production of crops are recording low harvest.
For instance, getting yam from states like Benue and Taraba, which are predominantly yam producing states has become as difficult task, due to the incessant clashes between grazers and farmers, which has forced majority of the farmers to abandon farming.
It’s the same story for onion, beans, soybeans, and millet among others.
Investigations also showed that the rising cost of cattle is not unconnected to the displacement of livestock farmers in some of the states.
Worried about these endless onslaughts, farmers and other stakeholders have cried out to government and relevant authorities to tackle this problem, which is an antidote to food crisis in the country.
The Country Director, Actionaid Nigeria, Ene Obi, who called for deliberate efforts from stakeholders, said there is the need for immediate action as the development is a threat to the country’s food security dream.
“Insurgency, armed banditry and farmers, herders clashes, as well as post harvest losses are major problems confronting the sector. There is need for urgent rethink of our practice towards our food and nutrition security.
“There is a lot that we desire from the government structure, from the leadership to make the place safe because we are having people who are not able to go to farm, something needs to be done. There has to be renewed commitment from the government.”
The Chief Executive Officer, Oreka Farms Limited, Obafemi Owode Local Council, Ogun State, Bose Ruth Suberu, advised government to trace the root cause of insecurity and find a lasting solution to the attacks on the hapless farmers.
“It’s only then we can have solution to food insecurity. If farmers who have abandoned their farms are returning, they need farm inputs to start production, there should also be a security measure in place to make sure they are safe, not just in their farms, but also in their villages/homes.”
An Agricultural Extension Specialist, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Dr. Yusuf Abdulahhi, advised the Federal Government to wake up to its responsibilities, especially that of guaranteeing the security of lives and properties of the farmers and the entire citizens.
A rice farmer in Argungun area of Kebbi State, Nura Kabir, appeals to the Federal Government to control the circulation and possession of illicit firearms and ammunition, especially automatic rifles and also strengthen cross-border cooperation with neighbouring countries’ security forces.
He emphasised the need for security authorities to strengthen security arrangements for herders and farming communities, especially in the north central zone.
Kabir identifies grazing land and water scarcity, damage to crops and plants, obstruction of traditional migration routes, and livestock thefts, among others as main triggers of conflicts in various communities.
He expressed concern that strategies at curbing the perennial conflicts between the farmers and the herdsmen had focused more on manifestations rather than the root causes of the conflicts.
The farmer recommended effective stakeholders’ engagement and interaction through dialogue, implementation of relevant policies to address incessant problem of acute water shortage and drought as some of strategies capable of resolving the conflict.