Farmers and investors in agriculture are increasingly getting nervous as rising insecurity in the country is putting their investments at risk. Frequent clashes between herdsmen and farmers in different parts of the country; Benue, Ekiti, Delta, Kaduna, Ebonyi, among others, are undermining farm activities, as farmers in many areas stay away from farms for fear of attack.
In the North Eastern states of Adamawa, Yobe and Borno, for instance, where the Boko Haram insurgency has been most rife, over the past four years, farmers are no longer able to go to their farms or grow crops for fear of attacks by the dreaded Boko Haram sect who kill, destroy their crops or harvest them to feed their flock of fighters. Many rural farmers have been displaced, while others have been restricted from going to their farms because of checks and heavy military approach being adopted by the government in fighting terrorism.
This has affected food production and the region is now facing famine as a result. International aid agencies have been appealing to the world for aid and support to the region to prevent imminent hunger and starvation as a result of the lack of food.
While the Boko Haram insurgency is taking its toll in the North East, Fulani herdsmen are on the loose, destroying farmlands in North Central Nigeria, killing farmers and their families and burning their villages and farm produce for sports or in revenge attacks. The government, which is shouting economic diversification and agriculture as the future of Nigeria outside oil meanwhile, looks on unperturbed by the excesses and atrocities of the herdsmen.
In the south, kidnappers are turning to local farm workers whom they regularly whisk away to later demand ransom from farm owners. BusinessDay investigation in Lagos, for example, show that a few investors, some of whom were encouraged to return to Nigeria from overseas by the Federal Government’s campaign to focus on agriculture as the next economic growth driver; are reappraising their decision, as they lament frequent payment of ransom to kidnappers to rescue workers abducted from their farms around Egansoyindo, Ketu and Igbodu in Epe. According to findings, farm workers engaged in poultry, piggery, fishery, crops and vegetables, including watermelon, are moving out of farm settlements, leaving them desolate as fear spreads over the activities of kidnappers.