FG Releases Grain Reserves to Tackle Food Crisis in North-East
The federal government has ordered the release of rice and grain from the strategic reserve to the North-east to help curb food crisis in that region. There has been a sharp fall in the supply of essential food items in North-eastern states, particularly Yobe and Borno states where the activities of Boko Haram insurgents have crippled the federal government’s irrigation project and food production at the Lake Chad Basin.
This was disclosed by a source within the Federal Government who alerted that the food price has increased by over one hundred per cent.
“The federal government sent several trucks loaded with bags of rice to the affected states during the Sallah celebrations,” the source added.
Further investigations confirmed that apart from the grounding of government irrigation and food production activities, most farmers have abandoned the several hectares of arable land prepared for the cultivation of rice and other grains in the Borno because of fear of being attacked by the Boko Haram insurgents.
The source said: “I can tell you that virtually all the farmers involved in rice cultivation and other agriculture-related activities have abandoned the vast expanse of land at the Chad Basin because of the activities of the insurgents. “The land which was very fertile because of the massive irrigation had caked up to four inches, making it impossible for farming activities”.
This was somewhat confirmed on Thursday by the director of defence information, Brig-Gen. Chris Olukolade, while speaking on the gains of the declaration of emergency rule in speech titled, State of Emergency – Half Way Through. Olukolade noted that even though a lot of successes have been recorded with socio-economic and commercial activities restored back, that of Chad Basin is yet to pick up.
“The Chad Basin Authority, as you can see, nothing is going on there since the insurgency. The economy has been grounded to a halt, the farmers have abandoned their farmlands,” he said. According to the source, the halt in Chad Basin food production has damaged the local economy, despite the efforts of the federal government to mitigate the situation.
Further investigation also revealed that before the intervention by the federal government, a bag of rice sold for N28,000 in Maidugiuri metropolis as against N12,000, which is the average cost in other cities of the country. The source lamented: “You need to see what damage these people have done to the local economy and even to the national economy. They have disrupted the farming activities of the local people.
“Apart from that, the irrigation programme of the federal government at the Chad Basin has come under serious threat. There is a vast expanse of arable land that has been destroyed because of the activities of these people. “You know that the place is a desert but there is this vast expanse of land that is being preserved through irrigation; that is being used mainly for rice cultivation.
“In fact, I can tell you that the activities of the Chad Basin Development Authority have been seriously affected by the activities of the insurgents.
“For two seasons running, farmers have not been able to go to the fields to plants for fear of being attacked,” it added.
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