It was also gathered that operators in the maize value chain lost about 10 million metric tonnes of maize worth N30bn due to insecurity in the last planting season.
Officials of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria stated that farmers had to devise a means of resisting attacks by bandits and armed herdsmen who invade farmlands.
They told our correspondent that although this had worked in some states, it had limited the ability of farmers to cultivate vast areas of farmlands.
“This has helped in terms of securing the farms and the farmers, but this large number of persons are often restricted to one area due to insecurity,” the National Vice President, All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Chief Daniel Okafor, said.
He added, “There is widespread banditry and kidnapping in Nigeria. Farmers are not going to their farms as they used to in the past. When they are going to farms this time round they go in cooperatives.
“They go in groups. They have to be many before they go to farms, particularly in volatile areas. It is not like that in past. Rather, before now you can go to your farm alone, with your family without fear of being attacked.
“But now you can’t go to farm with your family, rather you go with a cooperative of people. Sometimes these cooperatives could be more than 100, 200 or 300 people. We have to come up with this measure.”
Okafor, however, urged the Federal Government to address the security concerns in Nigeria, stressing that aside from its negative impact on food prices, it was adversely affecting the ability of farmers to produce crops for export.
Also, the National President, Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria, Dr Edwin Uche, told our correspondent that the decision taken by farmers was basically to protect themselves and their crops against harm.
He pointed out that this was necessary because maize farmers alone lost about N30bn due to insecurity in the last planting season.
Uche said, “We lost over 10 million metric tonnes of maize to insecurity in the last wet season and that affected grossly our output. This 10 million metric tonnes run into billions of naira.
“We are talking of around N30bn lost to insecurity in one farming season. You can see that it is a lot of money and that is only for maize production. But I can tell you that it affected all crops such as rice, maize, beans, etc.” PUNCH