By Bukola Adewumi
Some stakeholders in the agriculture sector have appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to intensify efforts in curbing banditry, kidnapping and terrorism, as these can threaten food security.
The stakeholders made the appeal in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.
They noted that the recent increase in kidnapping and banditry had made a lot of farmers run from their farmlands in search of safe hideouts.
Mr Paul Ikonne, Executive Secretary, National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) said there was need to urgently address the insecurity challenges in the country in order to overcome the challenges of food shortage.
Ikonne noted that dialogue remained critical in addressing issues of insecurity and herders, adding that a peaceful dialogue between farmers and herders would prevent future clashes.
”I believe that the herders want their cattle to be healthy so they can sell and make a profit. What this means is that they also want a conducive environment to do their business.
”So, NALDA is going to engage them and the communities; we will create an avenue where they can feed their cattle so that we all can live in peace,” he said.
The National President, Maize Association of Nigeria, Dr. Bello Abubakar said maize farmers in the country were currently producing enough to meet the demand for maize in Nigeria.
Abubakar however stated that more needed to be done to sustain the achievement, noting that one of such was to provide a good environment for farmers to work.
He said that in order to achieve the desired environment, kidnapping, banditry and terrorism must stop.
”Our farmers can not go to their farms because of fear of being kidnapped, robbed and killed,” Abubakar said.
He called on the Federal Government to sustain the ban on maize importation so as to further boost its production and encourage farmers.
Hajia Salamatu Garba, Executive Director, Women Farmers Advancement Network said despite the current issue of insecurity, farmers across the country had been toiling hard to ensure availability of food on every Nigerian table.
Garba said there was need for the government to also intensify efforts in improving the security situation in the country so that farmers could redouble efforts in food production.
”We thank the President for giving agriculture an atmosphere to grow, but we need the government to protect the lives of the citizens because it is only when there is the life that we talk of food,” she appealed.
Mr Peter Dama, National Chairman, Rice Millers Association of Nigeria said a lot of factors needed to be in place, to achieve a country desired by all Nigerians.
”The issue of insecurity, importation of food items grown in the countries, should be stopped. Nigerians have the responsibility of safeguarding the investments and economy of this nation for our progress.
”We also enjoin Nigerians with useful information on rice smugglers, to always reach out to security agencies, so that these economic saboteurs are apprehended, for the progress of our country,” Dama stated.