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Benue farmer loses N100m to attack

A farmer in Benue State has lost N100m worth of 350 hectares of cultivated field to farm produce thieves and attacks by hoodlums.  Our correspondent…

A farmer in Benue State has lost N100m worth of 350 hectares of cultivated field to farm produce thieves and attacks by hoodlums.

 Our correspondent reports that produce theft has become a worrisome development in parts of the state with some losing nearly their entire seasonal efforts to those perpetrating the act.

Also, hoodlums from host communities attacking farmers who are using leased lands had been reoccurring.

A victim, Vitalis Tarnongu, a big farmer in the state, narrated his last season’s experience to our correspondent in Makurdi, saying he lost his large rice and maize fields due for harvest to frequent attacks. 

Tarnongu said except for God’s intervention, he almost died from the injuries he sustained on his head during the attack, which happened last year when he visited to inspect his farm located in the Joseph Sarwaun Tarka University, Makurdi (JOSTUM) formerly called Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi (FUAM). 

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 He explained how he spent several months in different hospitals including the University Teaching Hospital, Jos in Plateau State where medical personnel battled to revive him. 

Tarnongu who is now set to resume farming this year said he is not deterred by the incident and would continue to farm for consumption and income generation.

 “I lost over a N100mllion worth of 275 hectares of rice, 75 hectares of maize. I couldn’t harvest anything from the field. I lodged a complaint to the police and investigation is ongoing.

 “I plan to start cultivating my field this year as from May 15. I will be planting a new variety of groundnuts. I see market potential in it and want to grab the opportunity.  

“This is because some companies approached me that they want to process groundnut oil. I will also plant maize, soybean, cowpea and rice.

 “There is going to be food crisis next year in this country because there isn’t rain in some parts of the state, particularly Makurdi up till now such that yam seedlings are still intact in the house,” he said.