BY NDAHI MARAMA, MAIDUGURI
The Managing Di-rector of Chad Basin Development Authority (CBDA), Dr Garba Abubakar Iliya has alerted Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno state on the sacking of 19, 000 farmers from their wheat and rice fields by the armed Boko Haram insurgents while harvesting 5, 000 hectres of wheat under the South Chad Irrigation Scheme (SCIP) of the Authority, leaving 3, 500 hectres of not harvested wheat destroyed and pilfered by stray animals and thieves.
Farmers’ insecurity in the Lake Chad Basin Areas and farmlands under the irrigation scheme, may also prevent the affected farmers from preparing their land for this planting season. Dr Iliya raised the alarm at the weekend at CBDA grains silos in Marte, while briefing the governor on farming and irrigation activities of the Authority and farmers insecurity posed by Boko Haram recent attacks and killings in Northern Borno.
He said that until the security of farmers was guaranteed by Lt. Col Gabriel Olufemi led Military Combat Force C, the affected farmers will not return to their wheat and rice fields. Since they were threatened and chased away by the armed militant Islamists group while harvesting their wheat and rice, some of them fled to Maiduguri, Monguno and Dikwa for safety and
“The security situation of the 19, 000 farmers your Excellency, was being threatened by the recent incessant attacks and killings, until the deployment of troops to Marte and Kirenoa towns, where most of the farmers reside in the full implementation of a Joint Partnership of CBDA and Borno state government on massive wheat, rice and vegetables production in the Lake Chad Basin Areas.”
He further disclosed that because of the insecurity on the farmlands and affected farmers, a total of 3, 500 hectres of wheat were rendered not harvested, as only 1, 500 hectres or 30 per cent of wheat were
His words: “our farmers were able to harvest 7, 000 bags of wheat from the Lake Chad Basin fields, while they took 3, 500 bags, leaving the other 3, 500 bags or 50 per cent of total harvests on the sharing
formula of 50:50. What we have now in this grains silo of the Authority, is 3, 500 bags of 100 kilogrammes or 175 metric tons of stored wheat for distribution and sales to the general public at a
subsidized rate of N10, 000 a bag.”
He however noted that the Authority cannot go into the production of rice this year, because of the Boko Haram insurgency that prevented farmers from preparing their farmlands. This was why we need total protection from the military combat force of soldiers.
Responding, Governor Shettima assured the Managing Director of farmers’ security at both their residences and farmlands, adding that with the presence of members of the Military Combat Force C, led by its commander, Lt. Col Olufemi, the target of state government, was to cultivate 10, 000 hectres of wheat by the affected farmers.