AGRICULTURAL body the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (Afan) has warned of an impending food shortage in the country as a result of several factors including growing insecurity and the inability of growers to access loans and fertiliser.
Nigeria is in the throes of a security crisis at the moment as heavily-armed Fulani cattle herdsmen have made many farms no-go areas across the country. Their livestock destroy farms and when farmers complain, their villages are attacked in bloody orgies that sometimes leave hundreds dead.
This has led to many farmers staying away from their farms and Afan has warned that it could lead to a food shortage soon. In addition, Afan warned that farmers are also reeling from the effects of a withdrawal of farm input subsidies, including fertilisers and a lack of access to loans and other facilities.
Alhaji Shehu Galadima, the chairman of the Niger State chapter of Afan, said: “There will be food crisis in Nigeria therefore, governments should do more to return farmers to the farms. The only way for farmers to be able to produce this season is for government to subsidise the price of fertilisers and other farm inputs.”
He added that as a result of insurgency, banditry and other forms of insecurity across the country, many farmers have relocated to safer towns, thereby abandoning their farms, adding that in Niger State, 11 out of the 25 local governments have been affected by one form of insecurity or the other resulting in farmers deserting their villages where they used to engage in farming. According to Alhaji Galadima, many farmers could not harvest their crops last season as a result of banditry, while those that succeeded in doing so lost the harvests to bandits.
As a result, Alhaji Galadima asked the federal government to review its decision to withdraw subsidies from the sale of fertiliser. He also said that Afan has discovered moves by some unscrupulous elements to adulterate fertiliser and therefore urged the federal government to checkmate these people and their activities.