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4 Feb 2018

Herdsmen Crisis: Food Shortage Looms As Harvest And Farmlands Are Being Destroyed

State ministries of agriculture officials have expressed fears that the constant attacks on farmers by herdsmen will affect food security in the country this year.
The officials, who spoke with SUNDAY PUNCH correspondents in the North-East, Middle Belt, and the southern part of the country, specifically warned that the development could lead to malnutrition and poor health.

The Benue State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. James Ambua, said food production in the state would likely drop by 40 per cent this year as a result of constant herdsmen attacks on farmers.

The commissioner lamented that the recent attacks came at a time when farmers in the state were supposed to harvest their crops, stressing that the bulk of the farmers who survived the attacks had been displaced and are taking refuge outside their communities.

He explained that the state had comparative advantage in rice, yam, corn, sesame seed, and beniseed (sesame), adding that some of the farms were also burnt by the attackers.

He said, “Following the New Year attacks, the production of farm crops has dropped by 40 per cent and this will surely have effect on the nation’s food production.

“The dry season farming has been scuttled by herdsmen attacks because Guma and Logo local government areas were attacked. The country will definitely have food crisis this year and in 2019.”

The Taraba State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. David Kassa, also said the herdsmen killings was threatening national food security.

He said, “The Federal Government’s poor handling of herdsmen crisis in Taraba, Benue and other states will definitely throw the country into serious food crisis from this year on.”

The Chairman, Public Accounts and Petitions Committee in the Plateau State House of Assembly, Peter Gyendeng, said, “The impending food crisis from the Middle-Belt will likely spread to other parts of the country.”

The officials in charge of agriculture in the southwestern states of Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti have also raised the alarm that food crisis was imminent in the region this year.

The Ekiti State Commissioner for Agriculture, Kehinde Odebunmi, said, “Definitely, herdsmen attacks will affect food security in the South West region in particular, and the country in general, because the farmers have not been allowed to harvest their crops.”

He lamented that 10 hectares of castor seed, over 20 hectares of cassava plantation and over 100 hectares of rice were destroyed by the herdsmen in Oke Ako, Iyemero and Igede farm settlements, while they also torched more than 50 hectares of cassava plantation in Orin farm settlement.

Source: PUNCH

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