Farmers in the 16 local government areas and the two special development areas of Taraba State have recorded low food production in the 2022 farming season due to the worsening insecurity in the state.
Investigation by LEADERSHIP showed that most yam markets in the state have converted to timber shades because there are no yams to sell or display in such places. Consequently, yam sellers have abandoned the markets for timber dealers, who are having a field day.
It was gathered at the hitherto yam markets that farm produce, especially yams, which used to be in abundance are now poorly supplied because farmers can no longer access their farms as bandits have taken over their farms and routes.
When our correspondent visited Zing, Pupule, Pantisawa, Abare and Maraban Zing in the northern part of the state where buyers used to troop to buy yams, the commodity was in short supply, which has forced up the price.
Some traders told LEADERSHIP that they could not afford the high prices because the product was in short supply.
The situation was not different in Tela, Bali, Garba Shade, Maraban Gasol, Dananacha, Sabongida Takai and Mutum Biu markets in the central zone of the state where groundnuts used to be available from the end of July every year.
The few available traders said that buyers who came from the far north and from the eastern part of Nigeria to get the products left without the commodity to buy.
Some farmers blamed the development on the activities of bandits, kidnappers and herdsmen in the state.
In an interaction with LEADERSHIP, the chairman of Taraba State Yam Producers and Processing Association, Hon Jerry Tyolanga, said insecurity had forced his members out of their localities which have made the farm products to be unavailable.
He said, “If there is anything that hinders the availability of farm products in Taraba State, it is insecurity. Our farmers are no more in their communities. If you go to the farm, it is either you are kidnapped or killed by bandits.
“Our women are raped or killed. Those who are kidnapped are forced to pay huge ransom. Our people are no longer safe to go to their farms. Our yam markets have been turned to timber shades; places we used to load hundreds of trucks of yams are no more there.
“Insecurity is worsening every year, it is not only we the farmers that are suffering from it, both federal, state and local governments are also passing through losses, when we sell our products, both of them take revenue, now we cannot farm, we cannot sell, they are also losing greatly.”
Farmers who spoke to our correspondent called on the government to improve on security to avert the pending food shortage in the country.