Boko Haram, Pests Dash Farmers Hopes Of Bumper Rice Harvest
While farmers in Borno State are trying to get used to the boundary that Boko Haram activities have set, they now have to fight other factors that are making their hope of a bumper harvest gloomy.
Some others that had managed to harvest were not allowed to enjoy the fruit of their labour by Boko Haram insurgents who set the already harvested rice ablaze.
Drought and pests are also the new phases of havoc that rice farmers in the northeast state are battling.
Output has become low and huge losses are being recorded by farmers.
About 1, 800 hectares of rice instance wilted due to drought in some parts of the state, according to the farmers.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that some of the rice farms were also affected by pest infestation.
Some of the farmers at the Biriri and Koshebe rice farm, said the destruction, by the combined forces, had dashed their hope of a bumper harvest.
Mrs Amina Isa, a rice farmer, blamed the pests and drought for her woeful cropping season.
Isa said that she planted her crops several weeks into the rainy season, but her peril came when the rain stopped before the plants matured.
“There were delays in the distribution of farm inputs to enable us cultivate our land on time.
“Few weeks after planting the fields; the rain stopped. We complained, water pumps and tube wells were provided to enable us save the plants through irrigation. Nonetheless the plants wilted.
“Ravaging quelea birds further destroyed what remained of the plantations”.
Another farmer, Malam Bashir Gwoni-Ali, alleged that about 400 hectares of rice were destroyed by Boko Haram insurgents at various plantations in Mafa local government area of the state.
Gwoni-Ali said that the insurgents burnt and destroyed the produce at their farms.
He listed the affected farmlands to include Koshebe, Kachemari, Juwano and Dinge.
“I and other farmers cultivated rice and recorded bumper harvest despite threats by the insurgents.
“Unfortunately the insurgents destroyed the produce and we are left with nothing,” Gwoni-Ali alleged.