Dr Femi Oke, Chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in the South-West zone, has called on governors in the zone to convey stakeholders’ meetings toward addressing frequent crises among farmers and herdsmen.
Oke, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Wednesday, said this became imperative in order to avert the looming food scarcity in the country.
He expressed worry that the recent happenings in Oyo, Ogun, Ekiti, Ondo, and some other states might have multiplier effects on food production across the country.
Oke urged the state governors to also dialogue with the herdsmen and farmers, and come up with a policy that would permanently address open grazing.
He said farmers were afraid of going to their farms due to insecurity, which he said, was threatening the food supply chain.
“This will lead to food scarcity, and increase in prices of food, if not quickly addressed.
“We intend to have a meeting with the state governors to design a strategy that will prevent the further unfortunate incidents,’’ he said.
Oke appealed to the farmers to be patient and not to take laws into their hands, saying that the association was waiting for the governments’ action on the issue.
He called on the state governments to compensate the farmers affected by the invasion of their farms by herdsmen to alleviate their sufferings.
In his remarks, Mr Adeleke Mabinuori, AFAN’s Chairman in Ogun, urged the state government to come up with legislation that would prohibit open grazing and farm invasion by herdsmen.
Mabinuori said that Ogun Government should set up a livestock unit that would supply the protein need of each state.
He said there was a need for allocation from the security votes to the farmers as they were prone to attack due to their closeness to boundary villages.
Also, a Woman Leader and Farmer in Ogun, Mrs Olukemi Ogunwoye, urged the state government to find a lasting solution to the issue of open grazing.
Ogunwoye said it was very disheartened as women farmers were always targeted during the crisis.
According to her, a woman was recently attacked on her way to the farm; she was shot and now in critical condition in the hospital.
“We cannot afford to lose our members because of open grazing or insecurity. We want the government to act fast and protect us.
“Many women embrace farming because of the economic situation in the country, and to also feed their families,’’ she said.
The woman leader called on the governors in the South-West states to co-pt all stakeholders to proffer a lasting solutions to the problem.