Farmers’ Association Blames Herdsmen For Reduced Irrigation Farming

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News in brief: Insecurity due to frequent herdsmen attacks has led farmers to abandon agricultural lands in Benue State, Nigeria, resulting in a significant reduction in irrigation farming. The All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) urges the federal government to provide security along river bank areas to encourage farmers to return and engage in irrigation farming, critical to the state’s agriculture-dependent economy.

Aondongu Saaku, chairman of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in Benue State, has said that the poor level of security forced farmers to abandon of agricultural lands.

He blamed the incessant herdsmen attacks for the drastic reduction in irrigation farming in the state, defying federal government support and assistance.

In his statement to the press, Saaku added that abandoned land along the riverine areas were more than 500 hectares. Thus, irrigation farming inputs that farmers received in forms of interventions now lie fallow.

The AFAN chairman said insecurity is the major bane of irrigation farming in Benue State and communities around the river banks of River Benue were the most affected. These fertile areas, with their lush vegetation attract the herdsmen, who seek to graze their cattle by the river banks as well.

Deadly confrontations between herdsmen and farmers have led to loss of lives and displacement of farmers, the association head said. He asserted that farmers are afraid to risk their lives going to the farms.

Therefore, Saaku was appealing to the federal government for adequate provision of security along the river bank areas which could inspire farmers to return to their lands and engage in irrigation farming.

Agriculture forms the backbone of the Benue State economy, involving more than 70 per cent of the working population and it contains the biggest market for a biggest product in Nigeria, the Zaki Ibiam International Yam Market.

The state, nicknamed ‘food basket of the nation’ is also a major source of food production, leading others in producing crops like yam, cassava, sweet potato, maize, millet and more. There is increased food insecurity when the state cannot produce food like it should.

Joseph Akahome
Joseph Akahome
Joseph O Akahome (OJ) is a writer, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Literature from the University of Benin. He is an avid agriculturist, with a bias for poultry and an insatiable appetite for chicken wings. When he is neither reading nor researching, he likes to spend recreational time playing board games, or swimming in serene forested lakes.


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