Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Use of fertilizers for explosives affecting our business: Borno farmers

“Our farmers hardly get fertilizer due to its ban for security reasons,” Bulama Maina said.

• November 1, 2020
Wheat farm
Photo of farmers in a wheat farm used to illustrate the story (Photo Credit: Legitng)

The continued use of fertilizers as a component in making improvised explosives by insurgents has caused scarcity of the essential input among farmers in Borno, an investigation by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) has found.

Some of the farmers in the state told NAN that generally, insurgency has affected farming as a business or pastime because most farmers can no longer work without fear on their farms.

Chairman of Rice Farmers Association in Borno, Bulama Maina said the insecurity in the state still affects agriculture due to restrictions placed on the procurement and movement of fertilizer by security agents.

“Our farmers hardly get fertilizer due to its ban for security reasons as it is being used by insurgents to manufacture improvised explosives,” Mr. Maina reaffirmed.

He called for more commitment to end the insurgency by all stakeholders for peace to return to the state and the North–East zone in general. 

Allamin Umara,  Chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria in Borno, says insurgency has affected both cash and food crops production.

Mr. Umara said the development has deprived many farmers in the state, the opportunity to benefit fully from government support, such as the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme.

“A place like the shores of Lake Chad, where you have vast and fertile land for production of crops such as wheat, rice and maize in large quantities, is no longer safe because of  insurgency,” he said.

On support from organisations, Mr. Umara said the Food and Agriculture Organisation, and, International Committee of the Red Cross have supported some farmers with seedlings and cash.

“The North East Development Commission has also collected data of our members; we are looking forward to its support for dry season farming,” he said.

Bello Buba, a farmer in Gwoza Local Government Area, known for large scale  sesame and tiger nuts production, said insurgency has reduced production by about 80 per cent. 

“Most farmers are in camps or settlements for several years now, and that has seriously affected sesame and tiger nuts production,” Mr. Buba lamented.

In 2016, former agriculture minister Audu Ogbe lamented at a town hall meeting in Abuja that fertilizer became scarce in parts of the country because insurgents were using it to produce explosives.

The Minister noted that the challenge made security agents to place the distribution of fertilizer on hold leading to a huge increase in the price of the commodity. 

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