Crops are rotting away in farms in Zamfara State after farmers stopped going for harvest from the lands for fear of being kidnapped or killed.
Already far into the harvesting period, many farmers are finding it difficult to go to their farms for harvest, owing to rampant cases of kidnap of farmers and traders by suspected bandits and cattle rustlers, who now take abduction for ransom as business.
Dozens of residents, especially farmers, have been kidnapped and millions of naira paid in ransom to regain their freedom in the past four weeks.
The kidnap incidents, Daily Trust leant, are more rampant around Jangeme-Magami-Dansadau axis and Kawaye-Gobirawa-Wuya axis in Maru and Anka local government areas of the state.
Last July, the army launched Operation Harbin Kunama in Dansadau forest with a view to flushing out armed bandits and cattle rustlers that have been terrorising the rural communities of the state in the past five years.
The locals told Daily Trust that farmers in the area are now scared of going to harvest their produce, thus sparking the fear that many farmlands may remain not harvested for some time.
Malam Alili Jangeme is a farmer and also resident of Jangeme village, who abandoned his sorghum farm for fear of abduction.
“I can’t go there. Where can I get millions of naira for ransom? The burden of paying the ransom will be shifted to your family, how can they raise that money? Even if the whole of the farm is sold it can’t pay the ransom demanded by those criminals,” he said.
Another farmer, Usman Halidu, said he was working on his farm along with his children when somebody warned them that a gang of armed bandits on motorbikes was advancing and they had to quickly vacate the land.
He called on government at all levels to come to their rescue, adding that the bumper harvest being experienced everywhere would be a pipe dream for them if the menace is not tackled.
The spokesman of the state police command, DSP Muhammad Shehu, could not be reached for comment as at the time of filing this report.