Times without number, federal government have rolled out campaign urging Nigerians to embrace farming with a view to boost food sufficiency in the country. These campaigns were majorly targeted at the youths in the country who government see as constituting the largest populace in the country.
In a bid to encourage youths venture into this productive sector of the economy, incentives ranging from interest-free agricultural loan facilities and free farming tools were giving out to the interested individuals. The above offers were what motivated people like me to show interest in farming even while staying and working in Abuja.
I showed interest in farming because while growing up in Kogi State, I used to follow my father and grandfather to the farm and it was through this I learnt the rudiments of farming. Prior to my admission into Federal Polytechnic, Idah Kogi State, I farmed tomatoes and even used the proceed to support my education both at National Diploma and Higher National Diploma levels.
With the encouragement given by the government on the need for the working and unemployed individuals to embrace farming, last year I acquired plots of lands in Abuja and also obtained little loan facilities to support the farming process. My pilot farming was to test the potentiality of farming business in Abuja and to see how it will look like at the end of every farming season. My plan was to start small and if it strives well, then I will improve on it in the next farming season.
In my farm, I have crops like tomatoes, pepper and cassava. I was able to harvest tomatoes and pepper within the rainy season period as these crops take life span of 3-4months to mature. After these harvest, I was left with grown up cassava stem which have grown pass my height. The soil in the area is very fertile as every ridge started cracking due to the enlargement of cassava tubers. The number of the standing Cassava stems in my farm was not less than three hundred.
Two week ago, I went to my farm to see my crops’ level of development and what I saw was encouraging.
They were doing very fine and on coming home I told my wife that by April to May next year, my cassava would be fully matured for harvest.
While making a proper check on my farm crops that day, I observed that four to ten of the cassava stems have being uprooted, developing tuber cut off and the stem cut into pieces. I also saw cow faeces around the farmland.
I just overlooked it believing that may be the herdsmen uprooted it for their eating while passing across my farmland as I was earlier told by people that the Fulani people like eating raw and uncooked cassava tuber.
Yesterday, as part of my routine visit to the farm three weeks after, what I saw was disgusting to my eyes. All the entire grown up cassava stems were uprooted and the tubers removed from the ground and cut into pieces for the cows to eat. My entire entire farm was littered with cow faeces with cassava leaves eaten up too. The Fulani herdsmen grounded my farm crops with nothing left standing. With this experience, I have no option than to foreclose my entire future farming plan.
Of a truth, I have now seen reasons for the herdsmen and farmers crises across all states of Nigeria. I will not be wrong to declare that Fulani herdsmen are threat to our existence in Nigeria and what do you think would have happened if I had met them uprooting my cassava stem for the cow and resist their evil activities? The answer is left for my reader.