Farmers in Dansadau have warned that starvation may strike the entire country as infamous bandits have taken over farmlands and threatened to prevent farmers from cultivating this season.
In an interview, Yau Mohammed Dansadau, the Chairman of the Dansadau Farmers Association, stated that before bandit activity overtook Zamfara State, he used to plant over 10,000 bags of varied grains annually.
The farmer noted that if the federal government should leave the insecurity situation unchecked, what happened in Somalia would seriously affect Nigeria.
He said the killings and wanton destruction being carried out by the bandits in the state is gradually turning farming activities into a dangerous venture.
“If the spate of sporadic attacks on farms by bandits is not checked by the government, farmers in the state will have no other option than to abandon their farming as a means of saving themselves from being killed or maimed by the bandits” he lamented.
“Before banditry activities in the state, I use to harvest at least 10,000 bags of grains but unfortunately in the last two years my production output has reduced drastically to a very bad one as low as 1,300 bags which was what I harvested last year”
“Even the 1300 bags which I produced last year was done by proxy because I personally not for once visited the farms because of the fear of being killed by the bandits”
“In one of the farms, which is about 4 kilometers from Dansadau, a farmland which is about 33 hectares where I normally cultivate at least 1,200 bags of grains but due to banditry activities, I got only 160 bags as the bandits made their cows eat and destroy the majority of my crops”
“Among my contemporaries, I am the only one who was able to produce over 1000 bags of grains, one or two others got less than 600 bags while majority could not even farm as a result of banditry activities”
“At this period when preparation for the year’s farming season is supposed to be at its peak, see me sitting in Gusau instead of being at my farm in Dansadau”
“Look at me! living as a refugee, if not because of security challenges, I would have been on my farm at this period doing land clearing and other things to get set for the rains but I’m here in Gusau”
The farmer explained that in some communities where big farmlands are located, there is no more accessibility due to the fear of banditry in the areas, saying there was a need for proactive security measures to be put in place to protect the lives and properties of the farmers in the state.
Dansadau chided the Zamfara State government for failing to tackle the bandit’s activities, describing the peace accord and reconciliation with bandits as a sign of failure.
“The state governor once said that if the security operatives were capable of crushing the bandits, the issue of a peace accord with the bandits wouldn’t have arisen” he lamented.
“I suggest that people should be allowed to carry their own weapons for self-defense and that can even reduce the burden of the security agencies” he concluded.
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