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Enugu: Cattle Destroy 35,000 Hectares Of Rice Farm

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The Enugu State Graduate Farmers express dismay as they bear witness to the obliteration of their expansive 35,000-hectare rice farm, a consequence of herder activities within the state.

A cloud of disappointment hangs over the Enugu State Graduate Farmers as they reveal the unfortunate destruction of their vast 35,000-hectare rice farm at the hands of herders operating within the state.

Nestled in the heart of Umuiba, Nara, at the Ojoloko farm site, the farmland in question is located within the jurisdiction of Nkanu East Local Government Area in Enugu State.

Farmers, interviewed by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on Tuesday, lamented the complete destruction of their investments in the farmland by marauding cattle.

Their grievance centers around the fact that the bank, which initially provided them with a loan, is now aggressively seeking repayment.

According to him, the farmers have lost billions of naira and up till now Sterling Bank is chasing some of them around because of inability to repay the loan they took.

“We are those farmers trained by the Enugu State Government during the tenure of former Governor Sullivan Chime.

“We started farming at Adani in Uzouwani Local Government Area, but when the farm was handed over to another company, we relocated to Nara where we have over 50, 000 hectares of land.

“We cultivated 35,000 hectares with rice both certified seed and paddy rice, since 2020 and in 2021, we borrowed money and did the farming, but when we were about to harvest, cows ate 80 per cent of the rice.

“They are in our farm on Sunday and Monday grazing and setting the rest on fire,” Mr Mba said.

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He added that they did not confront them but reported the matter to the State Security Service, Amagunze Police Station, and also informed the commissioner of police and the Enugu State Government.

“We have once been invited for a meeting, but after the meeting the herders came back and did worse.

“We are appealing to the government to help us stop them from entering our farms as well as organisations to come to our aid as most have lost confidence in farming.

“Since 2020 that we started, we have lost all that we planted worth N1.5 billion, but this year’s experience was much,” he said.

Chukwudinka Ezeihu, a farmer and leader of a farm cluster, expressed his view on the attack, describing it as a complete destruction and emphasizing the long-lasting impact it has had on their well-being.

Providing insight into their struggle, he explained the heartbreak of anticipating a considerable rice harvest from their efforts, only to wake up and find the farm devastated by herders.

“This year alone, we have lost billions of naira. How do we pay people that invested their money in the business?

“When we sent out videos of the destruction early this January, I made a statement at the Amagunze Police Station where they gave us someone to mediate between the farmers and the herders.

He said that the herders agreed to compensate them for the destruction.

“How can they be telling somebody who had lost over N1 million that he is going to be paid N200,000 as compensation?” he asked.

Corroborating the claims, another farm cluster leader, Emeka Ugwuja, said, “If you go to the police there now, you will see five different complaints on the same issue. Most families are already leaving their houses.

“My own farm is valued at N10 million, they are negotiating to pay compensation of N500,000.

“Government should please chase those herders from the agrarian community as our means of livelihood have been affected,” he appealed.

Having inspected the severity of the damage at the rice farm, Chidike Ukoh, the founding president of the National Youths Empowerment Association, Africa, a civil society organization, revealed that he was informed about the emergency situation through a phone call.

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