Taraba farmers threaten boycott over banditry | Dailytrust

Taraba farmers threaten boycott over banditry

As farming season begins in Taraba State, farmers have called on the state government and security agencies to urgently address cases of banditry to enable farmers carry out their activities without hindrance.

They also appealed to the government to address the high cost of fertiliser and diesel, as well as other farming inputs.

A cross section of farmers in the state, who made  the call in an interview  with Daily Trust on Sunday, said farming activities would drastically reduce this farming season if government did not take urgent steps to address the rate of   banditry in the state, especially in Gassol, Karim-Lamido, Bali, Gashaka and Ardo-Kola local government areas.

One of the farmers, Alhaji Yakubu Inuwa, said that already, bandits had taken over many farming communities in Karim-Lamido, Gassol and Bali and it would be difficult for many of them to go to their farms this season.

He said many farmers were abducted across communities while working on their farms and others shortly after they harvested their crops during the last harvesting period.

He further said that in the Gassol area, herdsmen destroyed and burnt many rice farms estimated at N150 million.

Another farmer, Umar Galadima, said they were afraid to go to their farms in many local government areas of the state because of fear of being kidnapped.

He said that in the last three years, many farmers were abducted while working on their farms and millions of naira was paid as ransom.

Galadima further said that many farming communities in the northern and central Taraba were facing an increasing rate of kidnapping, and as a result, many farmers are afraid to go to their farms this cropping season.

“It is very dangerous to go to farms in most farming communities in Gassol, Gashaka, Bali and Ardo Kola because bandits have taken over the areas and are terrorising villages,” he said.

He said a lot of farmers were forced to sell their produce to secure the release of their family members abducted by bandits.

He also said the high the rate of kidnapping had forced many residents across farming communities in the state to relocate to other places not affected by banditry, and that may affect farming activities in many parts of the state.

“There was a first time farmer from Jalingo town who cultivated a large farm in one of the communities, but unfortunately, few weeks to the harvest, he was kidnapped and his entire farm produce was sold to paid ransom for his release. And since then, he has never stepped into  the farm,” he said.

Galadima added that there were several cases of farmers abducted across many villages and their produce sold to secure their release.

He said that kidnapping and high cost of farming inputs were hampering farming activities; and it has a negative impact on food security.

A large scale female farmer, Hajiya Rabi Yusuf, noted that apart from threats by bandits, there is also the case of high cost of diesel, fertiliser and other farm inputs.

She said that last year, a litre of diesel was sold at N350, but now, it is N750.

Rabi noted that a farm which a tractor was engaged to work at N150,000 last year would now cost N320,000 to engage the service of a tractor this farming season.

She revealed that a bag of NPK and urea fertiliser, which cost between N7,000 and N10,000 last year, is now between N12,000 and N17,000 this farming season.

She also said the prices of agrochemicals for weed and pests control, as well as improved seed, had increased twofold this farming season.

“We have a bad situation, such that if care is not taken, many farmers would not be able to embark on farming activities this season,” she said.

She also said that cases of kidnapping and banditry, as well as high cost of farming inputs, must be addressed by both the Taraba State Government and the federal government in order to enable farming continue across the state.

The spokesperson of the Taraba police command, DSP Usman Abdullahi, said the command was doing its best to address cases of banditry and kidnapping across the state.

The commissioner for agriculture in the state, Mr David Kassa, said the high cost of fertiliser was linked to raising the rate of exchange, adding that the state government had purchased small tractors that would be easy to use, as well as cost effective for farmers to acquire and operate.

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