By Peter Duru, Makurdi
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has raised the alarm that the state is currently facing an unprecedented food shortage as a result of the persistent herdsmen attacks on communities in the state.
He lamented that the situation was made worse by the sacking of several farming communities, forcing the residents to flee their farms and ancestral homes to take refuge in Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camps.
The Governor who spoke while flagging off the distribution of improved seedlings of various crops including rice, water melon, cassava corn among others to farmers, procured by the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs in Makurdi, regretted that the development had already taken its toll on the people who were facing untold hardship and hunger.
While calling on the Federal Government to put an end to the invasion of Benue communities by armed herders, the Governor urged the people of the state not to despair assuring that the challenge would soon be a thing of the past.
“As a Government we are doing everything possible to ensure that our communities are safe with the inauguration of the Community Volunteer Guards, CVG. And we believe that with the CVG working closely with the people the herdsmen challenge will be a thing of the past soon.”
The Governor stated that the essence of distributing the farm inputs was to help the benefiting farmers record bumper harvests and by so doing improve their livelihoods.
“Aside distributing these inputs we will soon flag off the distribution of fertilizers at subsidized rate. The government will avail the farmers 40 percent subsidy to further encourage massive food production in the state.
“I urge the Federal Government to do everything possible to ensure that the displaced persons most of who are farmers go back to their ancestral homes,” Governor Ortom added.
Earlier the Special Adviser, Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Kenneth Achabo who lamented over the destruction of farmlands following incessant attacks on Benue communities by armed herders, explained that the seedlings which would be distributed free would serve as palliative to farmers.
He added that the seedlings would also help the farmers improve food production to ensure food security in the State.