Attack on Farmers: A Threat to Food Security


Tuesday December 01, 2020 / 03:23 PM / by CSL Research / Header Image Credit: Twitter; @GovBorno


News reports over the weekend say armed men on motorcycles led a brutal attack on men and women who were harvesting their fields in Zabarmari, a village in Jere local government area, about 20km out of Maiduguri and at least 43 persons were confirmed dead while some others were reported kidnapped. Though no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, armed group Boko Haram and its splinter faction, the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), have carried out a series of deadly assaults in the area in recent years. If this attack was perpetrated by Boko Haram as widely believed- it shows that the terrorist organisation still poses a significant threat to national security.


Boko Haram continues to carry out attacks and the frequency of these attacks, suggests the battle against the insurgents is far from over. Insecurity across the country has been on the rise. There has been an increase in killings from attacks by insurgents, Fulani Herdsmen/indigenous community clashes along with incidents of kidnapping and robbery. Travelling along many routes in Nigeria has become a nightmare due to the presence of bandits along many highways of the country. Criticisms continue to mount against the government for its inability to tackle the situation effectively. Earlier this year, many religious and other social groups embarked on peaceful protests to express their displeasure over the rising insecurity in the country.


 We are extremely concerned that these attacks, if not effectively dealt with would continue to weigh heavily on domestic food production. The pandemic induced disruptions to the food supply chain has caused a hike in food prices generally across the country. Prices of inputs such as fertilisers have also increased significantly. We note that, food inflation which makes up c.50% of the inflation basket has been on the rise and has been the major contributor to rising inflation, increasing to 17.38% in October 2020 from 14.09% in October 2019.


From Boko Haram insurgency to Herdsmen-related attacks to border closure to incidences of flood and poor harvests and to FX liquidity challenges, food prices have been pressured in the last few years and is pushing the country towards a food crisis. The scale and the gruesome nature of this attack may deter many more farmers from going to their farmlands as is already the case in many places.


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