Farmers in the North-West geopolitical zone have recounted their ordeals following the increasing rate of banditry and kidnapping, saying bandits have resorted to taxing them before they can have access to their farms.
They said apart from this, most of them have been forced to abandon their farms, adding that except something urgent was done to end banditry; food insecurity would be triggered in the country.
For instance, in Zamfara State, farmers’ associations said bandits had resorted to taxing their members before allowing them to go to their farms.
The groups stated that in Kebbi State, the hub of rice farming, that 350 farmers, mostly rice cultivators, had abandoned their farms.
They, therefore, warned that the increasing rate of banditry and kidnappings in the North-West geopolitical zone could affect food production in the area by over 50 per cent.
Officials of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria and the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria explained problems its members were facing.
NAN also reported that 10,000 households, mostly peasant farmers, had been displaced in Zamfara State.
Also, the Secretary of AFAN in Kebbi State, Muhammad Idris, in an interview with NAN in Birnin Kebbi, said, “Over 350 farmers have been affected as a result of banditry in Danko/Wasagu, Argungu, Yauri, Ngaski, Zuru and Birnin Kebbi local government areas.
“Our members, especially rice farmers, have stopped going to their farmlands in those areas for fear of being kidnapped or killed. Rice farming is not like any other farming as it requires constant and close monitoring; you have to be closer and observant of how it grows and the level of water and all that, hence you have to be going to the farm everyday if not, it will not yield positive result,” he said.
A farmer, Garba Isah, in Gwadangwaji area of Birinin Kebbi, said due to rampant kidnappings he was unable to go to the farm for sometime out of fear, warning that the situation could trigger food insecurity.