|Farmers were burned to death and their farms were evicted, causing them to disperse|
Farmers in Zamfara, one of Nigeria’s worst-hit states by kidnappers, say it will take 10 years for agriculture to return to normalcy in the state.
Agriculture has been hit hard by militant attacks in addition to floods and cholera epidemics.
In the BBC’s Ra’ii Riga program on Friday, the Emir of Zamfara, Alhaji Hassan Kwazo, said traditional agriculture in Zamfara had failed due to militant attacks.
He said farmers’ houses and farms had been set on fire, causing them to disperse, except for roadside crops that did not exceed three or five bags of grain.
“Normal farming has not taken place for almost five to six years. Agriculture has slowed down in Zamfara. The rich who used to cultivate 500 to 1,000 bags have not been able to come,” said Sarkin Noma.
“And before the crop returns, it will probably be 10 years because all the real farmers have broken up.”
He added that if a person went to the farm he would be caught hostage, this caused the farmers to disperse because even small farmers were caught and killed.
“Even those who got it did a little farming, a little of what they got from the thieves running out.”
According to him, before the crop is harvested, there is no guarantee, and after the harvest, the thieves have to pay before they can harvest the produce.
“Those who had just planted along the road clashed with relatives who were lucky enough to reap the benefits of the harvest.
“Agriculture in Zamfara, let’s just say Innalillahi wa’ainna ilahir rajiun.”
Threats of food insecurity
Security is one of the main causes of food insecurity in northern Nigeria as pirates and kidnappers harass farmers and prevent them from cultivating their fields.
This comes in addition to the challenges faced by floods and cholera epidemics.
The security challenges facing farmers are expected to have an impact on food security in Nigeria.
In Ra’ii Riga, Alhaji Muhammad Magaji, the chief information officer of the National Farmers Association, said the north-west was definitely in trouble.
“In Katsina areas such as Danmusa, Safana, Bakori and Dutsinma, they cultivate about 30 to 35 percent of the total production in the northwest,” he said.
“But now that farming has failed, farmers have failed to go to the farm. Many of them have not harvested even if they have farmed.”
He said this affected Kaduna, Igabi, Birnin Gwari, Giwa and Kauro.
The crisis, they say, will lead to rising food prices in northern Nigeria due to food insecurity.
The Emir of Zamfara, Alhaji Hassan Kwazo, has advised the government to develop a system to support rural youths, “who cultivate but are evicted from their farms and killed”.
He said the farmer did not need it, if he was given support and security was enough.