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November 27, 2011

Cattle destroy crops in Nigeria's Abia State

Chief Dunlop Okoro, the Chairman of All-Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) in Abia says cattle have destroyed crops worth millions of naira in the state.

Okoro told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Umuahia that farmlands in Abia rural communities had been repeatedly invaded by cattle with a range of crops destroyed in the process.

 The state’s Ministry of Agriculture decided to set up a committee to ascertain the degree of the damage as well as recommend ways to avert re-occurrence. The intervention of the state government on crop destruction by cattle had averted a serious crisis between herdsmen and their host communities.

``I must say that the issue in Abia State about the cattle menace is what should be described as farm disaster.Many farms have failed because of activities of these cattle. And so I am even appealing to NEMA to come to the aid of Abia farmers because the magnitude of the destruction is so much that the farmers cannot bear it. They should come and give us all the assistance they have been giving to disaster areas. It is a farm disaster in Abia state.’’

Okoro appealed to the state government to either ban herdsmen from the state or provide a grazing route.

``The problem we have now is that the menace is trying to overwhelm the committee because if you tackle a community where they are grazing, tomorrow they will be grazing on other farms.

``If we do not have a grazing reserve or a stock route, the tendency is that the menace will become a hydra-headed problem and the situation could constitute a security breach.’’

Okoro said that it was regrettable that farmers could borrow monies from banks and individuals only to lose their crops to cattle.

``These farmers cannot even cultivate any crop next faming season because they have lost all they have and there is no place to run to,’’

Okoro said that the state could face shortage of certain food crops next year if nothing was done to address the situation.

NAN

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