Farmers have once again expressed concerns over the imminent and inevitable food crisis in the country, saying that they cannot access their farms due to criminal activities of bandits and terrorists.
This disclosure was made in Abuja, over the weekend, by the Chairperson, African Kilimanjaro Women Forum (AKIWOF) for ECOWAS member states, Hajia Zainab Arah. Arah, who is also the Zamfara State Coordinator, Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria ( SWOFON), stated that banditry in some parts of the country has continued to frustrate farmers’ efforts, as women are afraid of being raped by the randy bandits.
She stressed that the activities of bandits may hinder the utilisation of the full potential of the ultra modern ground nut processing factory which Zamfara State government donated to the women farmers.
She further noted that the rural women farmers, who constitute almost 80 percent of the farming population, lack security and financial empowerment to contribute meaningfully to food production.
Arah, lamented that the Nigerian agricultural sector was beset by several challenges that threaten efforts of government and other stakeholders towards achieving food security.
According to her, while the women farmers were sharpening their advocacy for government to increase budgetary allocation to agriculture, the COVID 19 pandemic came and dealt a heavy blow to the moves.
“Most of us (women) can’t access our farms because of the fears of being raped by bandits “During the COVID-19 pandemic the country’s agricultural sector lost a lot of things, coupled with the effects of natural disasters, like flood, insecurity.
All these impacted negatively on the farmers at the rural areas,” she said.