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How N50m Taraba rice farm was destroyed 10 days to harvest

For Dr Kabiru Abiso, October 2018 will remain indelible in his memory as that was when his over N50 million investment in rice production, on which he was already counting the millions he would reap as profit, was destroyed within the twinkle of an eye.

The about 750 hectares of rice farm in Taraba State was destroyed completely by herds of cattle when herdsmen allegedly invaded the farm and other farms in the area with their animals.

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Daily Trust travelled over the dusty and difficult road to locate the farm amidst heightened sense of insecurity in the area due to attacks and the presence of many herders deep in the jungle where the farm is located.

Although the farmer was not available when the reporters sought to visit the farm, he had advised for caution (through phone) on the visit because of insecurity. However one of the workers agreed to lead the team.

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Daily Trust finally got to the farm, after two hours of travel over the road that linked Jalingo, the Taraba State capital with Yelwa village, crossing no fewer than 10 rivers and streams, among them one of the biggest rivers, by boat.

Everywhere, crops were completely leveled to the ground and there was no sign of harvest but grazing activities.

At nearby farms, there were many cows grazing and the air of insecurity was there with stories of people attacked still at hospital.

Dr Abiso had revealed that he ran the Walwanne and Sons Ltd Rice Farm with a N50 million loan he got from the CBN Anchor Borrower Programme for rice cultivation.

He said also that he got the farm on lease from the village head of Dubeli in Lau Local Government Area for N450,000.

He said he planted 500kg bags of improved rice variety, engaged about 600 labourers and applied two trailer loads of fertilizer and was expecting a harvest of about 25,000 tonnes of paddy rice but that the farm was destroyed less than two weeks to harvest.

According to him, when the herdsmen came, they chased away the people guarding the farm, adding that the matter was reported to the police and traditional ruler of Sei, where the farm was located.

Similarly, about 35 small scale farmers are said to have also suffered the same fate with an estimated cost of rice destroyed in their farms put at about N20 million.

Some of the farmers who spoke with Daily Trust lamented over the incident, adding that they had never witnessed that scale of destruction on their farms, and called for ban of open grazing to save their farms.

In Jalingo, Daily Trust contacted the police spokesman, Taraba State Command, ASP David Misal, on the issue but he said he was not aware of the incident.

He advised the owners of the farms destroyed to report the matter at Lau Police Division.

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