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Save the Children: Abduction, killing of farmers worsening food crisis in Nigeria

Farmers at work Farmers at work

Save the Children says attacks on farmers are affecting food supplies and pushing Nigeria deeper into a food crisis.

In a statement on Monday, Famari Barro, the charity organisation’s director for Nigeria, said armed groups killed more than 128 farmers and kidnapped 37 between January and June.

Barro said the increased attacks have led to displacements, market disruptions and loss of livelihoods, adding that there is an urgent need to stop the trend.

“These violent attacks against farmers in Nigeria are exacerbating the already dire hunger crisis in the country, especially in the north where millions of children do not know where their next meal will come from,” he said.

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“Armed groups committing these ruthless acts are not only disrupting food production but also pushing children to the brink.

“Urgent action must prioritise the needs of children to stop this devastating trend and protect innocent lives. If not, armed groups will continue to carry out brutal attacks, drive food prices, and push more families to starvation.”

Bulama, a 35-year-old farmer in the north-east, told the organisation that attacks by bandits are affecting farming activities.

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He said extreme weather events due to climate change have also worsened the hunger crisis in his community.

“Armed groups have attacked and kidnapped farmers who are our friends and brothers, requesting ransom – most times it’s an amount no villager can afford,” he said.

“They have killed our farmers and stolen our farm produce, leaving us helpless and with nothing to take home. The hunger and starvation most of us suffer in this community are because insurgents deprive us of accessing the farmlands, and even when we risk our lives in our fields, they steal everything and allow us to starve.

“The lack of rain this year has worsened the current hunger crisis my family is facing. All our remaining crops are dried and dead.

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“It has taken us back to starting fresh because most farmers are cutting down their dried crops to plant new ones. We have nothing to eat and nowhere to go. We can go days without eating a meal.”

TheCable reported that the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) projected that about 25.3 million people in Nigeria will experience acute hunger due to food insecurity in August.

The organisation said an estimated two million children under five — across Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states — are likely to be pushed into acute malnutrition in 2023, with about 700,000 children on the brink of death.

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