Benue councils lose N4 billion worth of rice to herdsmen attacks
Rice farmers in Guma ad Logo local councils of Benue State have lost about N4 billion worth of rice following the destruction of their farmlands by herdsmen during the harvesting season.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, James Anbua who disclosed this yesterday in an interview with The Guardian in Makurdi, stated that the situation has brought about food shortage in the state, as the two affected council areas were the major food producers.
Anbua noted that the state was involved in mass production of rice and was expecting bumper harvest at the end of year 2017 before herdsmen invaded the state.
According to him, “Only about 40 to 45 percent of rice, amounting to 25 thousand metric tons were harvested in the affected areas due to the herdsmen attack. If you calculate this figure by N110 per kilogramme, you have about N3 billion from only the rice harvested.”
He expressed worry that most of the people who took the anchor borrowers’ loan had their crops destroyed by the herdsmen, leaving them in a dilemma as to how to repay their loans.
“The crisis has brought a lot of hardship to the people and with the continued killings in the state, it is difficult for the local farmers to return to their ancestral homes to continue with their farming activities,” he added.
Commenting on the state government’s ranching policy, Anbua said the state has build a pilot Ranch in Makurdi, which would soon be commissioned, noting that similar projects would be replicated in the other senatorial zones of the state to ease implementation of the anti-open grazing law.
He, however, explained that the ranches being built were for government use and were meant to keep seized animals of violators of the Benue Anti-Open Grazing Law.
He also pointed out that about 206 cows so far seized from violators of the law have been released to their owners after paying a fine of N2,000 for each cow.
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