Farmers have called on the Federal Government to declare a national food emergency and to conduct a quick enumeration of farmlands destroyed by the Fulani herders.
They fear that the displacement of farmers and mass destruction of arable farmland by supposed Fulani herdsmen may spell doom for the country’s food supply chain, leading to food shortages and undermining the Federal Government’s yam export drive.
Prince Wale Oyekoya, a former Chairman Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Agric and Agro Allied Group Says the attacks will, in the end affect production since many of the affected farmers are afraid of returning to their farms.
“This is where I expect the Federal Government to look into. How many people are even farming now, look at Benue state which is the food basket of the nation a lot of farmers have even folded up because the way the herdsmen bombarded them really scared them away to do the right thing” he said.
Olufemi Salami, Managing Director of Oamsal Nigeria Limited, who says he has lost 66 hectares of cassava farmland to the Fulani herdsmen in Ekiti state said the implication of the killings will lead to a shortfall in the food supply because many farms were destroyed due to the attacks.
Apparently displeased at the “sit-down-and-look” posture of the government, he urged the government to declare a national food emergency and to conduct a quick enumeration of farmlands destroyed by the Fulani herders.
“Farms have been completely destroyed and most farmers have lost their means of livelihood; nobody is coming to their aids; most farmers are likely no to go back because they don’t have money to go back to even till the land” he said.
Although yam is grown widely in Nigeria, Benue state retains its position as the largest producer of yam and therefore the largest contributor to the yam export scheme. The herdsmen invasion has drastically affected its output. Other states could be planting now, but without the effective involvement of Benue state farmers, maximum output may not be achieved.