Farmers call for protection against Boko Haram

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Some farmers in Borno have called for deployment of military and other security personnel to farmlands, to protect them against attack by Boko Haram insurgents this cropping season.

They also called for modern preservation technologies to enhance processing and reduction in damage to agricultural produce.

A cross section of the farmers made the call in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Saturday at some fields in Jere and Mafa Local Government Areas of the state.

Malam Ali Bukar, a beans grower at Keyamla plantation, said the call was imperative to protect them from attack by the insurgents.

Bukar alleged that the insurgents had recently coordinated attacks against farmers and loggers, a trend which forced most of them to abandon their farmlands.

“As the cropping season sets in; farmers could not work in the farms now for fear of the insurgents’ attacks.

“Many farmers were attack and killed during the dry season activity in various farming communities in the outskirt of Maiduguri and other local government areas,” he said.

Alhaji Muhammad Hassan, the Chairman of Rice Farmers Association, (RIFAN) Zabalmari community in Jere LGA, added that proactive measures were necessary to encourage farmers to cultivate their lands during the season.

Hassan noted that farmers at Zabalmari, Koshebe and adjourning communities in Jere and Mafa could not till their farmlands due to attacks by the insurgents.

He said that many farmers were killed by the insurgents during the dry season activities in the area.

Hassan said that “We call for deployment of military and other security personnel to protect farmers in the fields.

“We are making preparations for cropping activities but attack by the insurgents is a source of worry to farmers.

“Deployment of personnel and other security measures are necessary to ensure protection, mobilize participation and encourage agricultural activities”.

However, Hassan commended the military and other security agencies over the protection of farmers and improvement of security situation which he said enabled them achieve bumper harvest during the previous farming activities in the state.

Hassan also called for distribution of fertilisers and inputs to farmers at subsidized rate, adding that they procured the inputs at exorbitant prices in the market.

Kaka Modu and Mustapha Isa, who corroborated the earlier position, also called for modern preservation technologies to reduce wastage of agricultural produce.

Isa said that lack of such technologies was making crop and perishable produce cultivation less attractive, as they could not be preserved for a longer period of time.

He noted that farmers sold their produce at lower prices at harvest to avoid losses.

Some of the produce cultivated by farmers includes rice, wheat, beans, sorghum, maize, tomato; onions, pepper, carrot, cucumber, cabbage, lettuce and water melon.

NAN also reports that Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), had donated tractors, fertilisers and inputs to Gudumbali resettled farming community during the previous cropping season.

The army also extended similar gesture and deployed troops to many resettled farming communities to protect farmers and encourage agricultural activities in the state.