Impact of terrorism on agriculture and food security
More than 17,000 farmers, fearing Boko Haram terrorists, have fled from northeastern Nigeria to the south since 2012, according to Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency, Irin reported.
The terrorists attack villages, slaughtering farmers, their families and farm animals, and leaving farms abandoned and disused.
“Ongoing attacks have destroyed land and killed thousands of young men since 2009, and, in some cases, wiped out or displaced entire generations of farmers and herders. The future of many rural communities in northeastern Nigeria is, at best, uncertain, at worst, unsustainable.”
“In the rural north, the youth are the pillars of agriculture, tending to farms and cattle,” said a farmer from Askira. “Now, six years of Boko Haram violence has left farms idle and animals dead or stolen.”
Villager have lost everything, including their sons, to Boko Haram terrorists.
Many farmers have restricted their movements to “safe areas” and work limited hours in the fields to minimize the risk. But they fear the impact this would have on food supplies. Further terrorist attacks could mean food shortages this year.
Bulama Modu, a rice farmer from Gwoza who has since taken refuge at a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Malkohi, told IRIN: “Boko Haram has prevented farmers from tilling their fields. They have been attacking us and many farmers were killed, mostly youth. We had to run without tilling our rice.”
The terrorists first imposed levies and taxes on the farmers in exchange for not burning their crops, ranging from about one to three million naira ($6,000–$18,000), depending on the size of the village.
“But later, they started slaughtering people and this situation forced us all to flee,” a farmer said.
More than 17,000 farmers, fearing for their lives, have fled from northeastern Nigeria to the south since 2012, according to Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency.
The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) says food production throughout the region will be below average this year, and that areas of western Yobe State, northern Adamawa State and most of Borno State, along with areas in and around Maiduguri, where many IDPs have taken refuge, are expected to remain “in crisis” until at least March 2016.
Food prices have been affected severely. Since Boko Haram began attacking farmers the prices of beans and onions have risen by up to 70 percent., said the report.
“Most of our traders are now afraid to go to the food markets up north,” Daudu told IRIN. “Transporters see it as [a] high risk going to such places as Maiduguri to carry farm produce.”
After a popular Baga fish market in Borno State was attacked one morning by Boko Haram, gunmen, many food stores locked their door and let the food inside to perish,” said a victim. “It is not only the farmers that are running away, [but] the food sellers and transporters too.”
Many farmers have tried to return to their land but are unable to replant their fields due to landmines. They are forced to do other work until their land has been cleared.
Mine explosions in farm fields have killed, maimed or injured many farmers, as they return to their land.