The Benue state Commissioner for Agriculture, James Anbua has stated that the state has lost over N8billion to herdsmen attack this year.
The commissioner told journalists on the aftermath of herdsmen attack on food security, noted that Benue is ranked among the fifth largest producer of rice in the country with the expectation of bumper harvest this year.
Anbua expressed regret that the herdsmen attack on the state was coming at the time farmers were harvesting there rice, further adding that the local government areas with comparative advantage in rice production because of their terrain were Guma and Logo that were greatly affected by herdsmen attacks.
He said “already, there is a threat to food security in Benue State. Agriculture on food, start from land preparation, by now farmers in those areas are supposed to start clearing lands for the next cropping season but most of these people are in camps and they have not gone back to start the process.
“Guma and Logo are the highly crops processing areas and since they are not in their ancestral home, they can’t talk of clearing lands. Therefore the food security is threatened because these people cannot go back to farm and there would be no much farm activities in those areas and there would be shortage of food towards the end of 2018.”
“Even the 2017 cropping season, we expected bumper harvest because Benue State is one of the highest mass producers of rice in 2017 but because most of those rice farms were not harvest, all of these is lost and even the little that were harvested were destroyed.
“As l speak with you, the worst hit two LGA of Guma and Logo produces 25, 000 metric tones of rice and that is the one that were ceased and the one that is not harvested, we approximated it to be more than what has not be harvested.
“Just approximate one hundred and ten Naira per kilo, you will discover that an average of minimum of 3-4 billion Naira is the value of rice that is being harvest in each of the local government that are been affected by this crisis.
Anbua further said that most of farmers affected in the herdsmen attack took the CBN-Anchor Borrower loan, pointing out that you cannot ask somebody to pay what he did not have.
” Actually we went round and discovered that these people’ the rice they farmed, they did not harvest them, so if somebody took a loan and for the fact that he took a loan to farm, even as he farm, he could not harvest it, can you ask him to pay or kill the person.”
He appropriated the input component to be in the range of about 553 million.
Speaking on the plan confiscation of cows seized for violating anti open grazing law, the commissioner said that 206 cows were ceased and put in detention camp but hinted that owners had paid fine for their release.
He said that the state government was not going to build ranch for herdsmen, stressing, “farming is a private business, so, if herders approach us that they need land, they will sign our papers and we will give them the land for ranches, but government will not build ranch.”