Two tractor drivers were killed by Boko Haram insurgents in Jere Local Government Area of Borno, Alhaji Muhammad Dilli, the state Commissioner of Agriculture, said.
Dilli told newsmen in Maiduguri that the insurgents attacked the tractor operators while working on a farm “in the past few days’’. Wounded victims of the ambush by Boko Haram He listed the slain tractor operators as Kashim Bukar and Shettima Mustapha.
The commissioner said that the upsurge in the Boko Haram insurgents was a major challenge facing the agriculture sector in the state. Dilli added that thousands of farmers had returned to the farms in the liberated areas, in spite of the insurgents’ attacks.
However, he said, most of them could not go to the farms for fear of the insurgents’ attacks. “The state government had procured farm inputs and modern agricultural equipment but it could not distribute them to farmers due to the insurgency,’’ he said.
The commissioner also disclosed that the state government had spent over N40 billion on agriculture development programmes in the past six years. He said that government had adopted proactive measures to re-engineer and transform agriculture from the debilitating effects of the Boko Haram insurgency. He also said that the state government had procured 15, 000 tones of assorted fertilisers, 1, 000 tractors and 25 combined harvesters.
Dilli added that over N700 million were also spent on procurement and distribution of seedlings to displaced farmers in liberated areas. He noted that the gesture was to assist the displaced farmers and encourage them to go back to the farms.
According to him, the ministry had encouraged cultivation of ginger in Biu, Chibok, and Damboa, adding that about six trucks of the produce were produced in Hawul Local Government Area. He also disclosed that over 7, 000 goats were distributed to the women among the displaced farmers to enable them to engage animal husbandry and encourage livestock production.
The commissioner reiterated the government’s commitment to reinvigorate agriculture, enhance farmer support services, promote their enterprising skills and add value to the produce. (NAN)