By Matthew Ajai-Kume
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has lamented that armed Fulani herdsmen attacks in the state has been a major setback on food security.
He made this known in Makurdi Thursday at the Benue People’s House when he played host to the Executive Director of Middle Mash Farm Cooperative, United Kingdom(UK) in Nigeria, Charissa Hayes, who paid a courtesy call on him.
The governor who said, the state has vast lands for farming and other purposes however, lamented that attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen has been the major factor of backwardness of agricultural activities of the state. He noted that, if something urgently is not done, food security of the state and Nigeria would be thwarted.
Governor Ortom called on security agencies to step up the fight against armed herdsmen who are killing innocent persons as well as destroying property of farmers. He said, “I want to commend President Muhammadu Buhari on his Presidential Order of shoot at sight of anyone who is unlawfully roaming about with AK-47 riffles and other arms.”
The governor maintained that the state has comparative advantage in agriculture and will partner with any genuine investors to explore any opportunity available to the state. To this end, he charged the Baban Ruwa Community of the Utyundu in Uvir Ward, Guma Local Government Area of Benue State to cooperate and protect the property of Middle Mash Farm Cooperative, United Kingdom (UK) which is doing business in the area, in order for them to drive maximum benefits from the cooperative.
“The coming of the Middle Mash Farm Cooperative is a welcome development, with their technical know-how in agriculture, I believe with the partnership, greater development will be attracted in boosting agriculture mechanization in Benue State,” Governor Ortom maintained.
He assured that Benue State Government would give full support and monitor the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to ensure harmony and effective partnership between the community and the cooperative.
Earlier in an address, the Executive Director, Middle Mash Farm Cooperative,Charissa Hayes said the cooperative is going to use N69,816,500 for the production of Faro 44 rice type which have early maturity rate and high yield.
Hayes explained that, the cooperative will use the personnel of 200 workers from the community to embark on both dry and raining season rice farming and added that, the process would only cover 20 weeks.
She further explained that, the investment will benefit both the state and the community while she appealed to the governor to give them appropriate cooperation and support.
On his part, the Chairman, Guma Local Government Council, Caleb Aba thanked the state Ministry of Agriculture for attracting the attention of the cooperative to the Utyundu community. He stated that the investment of the cooperative would not only benefit the community but Benue State in general.
Commenting, Chairman, Baban Ruwa in Utyundu community, Barr Daa Gba, who said the community would greatly benefit from the investment added that the community, state Ministry of Agriculture and Middle Mash Cooperative have already agreed to work together and MOU to the effect would be signed on Friday, 19 March, 2021.
Barr Gba thanked Governor Ortom for his infrastructural development in the community and his permission for the community to lease the land to the cooperative, even as he promised adequate protection of the cooperative’s property and personnel for utmost benefit from the investor.