• Monday, March 04, 2024
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BusinessDay

Plateau’s Irish potato supply chain suffers on Bokkos attack

Lagos supports 5,000 farmers with inputs to tackle rising food prices

In the aftermath of the recent herdsmen attack in Bokkos, Plateau State, an unforeseen consequence has emerged—the severe impact on the supply chain of Irish potatoes, a staple crop and economic mainstay in the area.

Bokkos the largest producer of Irish potato in Plateau State, has been bedevilled by a series of continuous attacks that have led to killings, and destruction of properties and goods.

Bokkos, known for its fertile soil and favourable climate, has long been a key contributor to Plateau State’s agricultural output, particularly in the cultivation of Irish potatoes. The attack has disrupted the lives of farmers who, for generations, have tilled the land to yield bountiful harvests.

Local farmers, already facing challenges such as unpredictable weather patterns and market fluctuations, now grapple with the direct consequences of the attack. Fields have been abandoned, and the fear instilled by the violence has deterred many from returning to tend to their crops.

The Irish potato supply chain, once a source of pride and sustenance for the area, is now strained. The attack has led to a significant reduction in potato production, as farmers struggle to salvage what remains of their crops or are forced to abandon them altogether.

The interconnected nature of the agricultural sector means that the impact goes beyond individual farmers.

Suppliers, transporters, and distributors are grappling with the consequences of disrupted operations. The once-flourishing trade of Irish potatoe from Bokkos to various markets is now facing a logistical nightmare.

A supplier who gave her name as Madam Kate lamented that other parts of the country are also suffering from the ripple effects of the attack.

“The series of attacks have affected us in no small way. I supply Irish potato to Abuja, Benue and other parts of the country. But since the recent attacks it has been quite difficult to even get it, we only get in small quantity”; Kate said.

Local markets, once vibrant with abundance of fresh produce, now bear witness to the scarcity of Irish potatoes. Prices have surged, placing an additional burden on consumers who rely on this staple for their daily sustenance.

The repercussions extend to other businesses dependent on the potato supply chain. Roadside sellers who play a vital role in adding value to the crops, are now faced with uncertainty as they struggle to secure the necessary raw materials. This disruption jeopardizes jobs and economic stability in the area.

In an interview with the chairman, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Plateau state chapter, John Wuyep, said ” the crisis have seriously affected the production of Irish potato in Bokkos. It’s quite disheartening that the attacks have resurfaced when farmers are preparing for the new planting season”.

The AFAN chairman lamented the inability of the federal government to recognize Irish potato as special crop that could be given attention.

He appealed to the government at all levels to come to the aid of the farmers who were affected by the attacks.

The Bokkos attack’s impact on the Irish potato supply has broader implications for food security in Plateau State. The vulnerability of the agricultural sector highlights the need for diversified strategies

Efforts to rebuild and rehabilitate the affected areas must include targeted interventions to support farmers in resuming their agricultural activities. This includes providing access to seeds, tools, and financial assistance to mitigate the economic losses suffered.

Government agencies and non-profit organizations should provide assistance to affected farmers and revitalize the agricultural sector. Initiatives focusing on community-driven development and the empowerment of farmers are essential for the long-term recovery of the Irish potato supply chain.

Innovation and technology adoption are becoming crucial in the rebuilding process. Farmers should explore resilient agricultural practices, including the use of drought-resistant varieties and precision farming techniques, to enhance their capacity to withstand future challenges.

The Bokkos attack underscores the importance of strengthening security measures in agricultural areas Collaborative efforts between local communities, law enforcement, and relevant stakeholders are essential to create an environment where farmers feel safe to cultivate their land without fear of violence.

International partnerships and support are critical in addressing the broader challenges facing the Irish potato supply chain. Knowledge-sharing, technical assistance, and financial aid can contribute to the development of sustainable solutions that promote resilience in the face of adversity.

The restoration of the Irish potato supply chain is not only an economic imperative but also a matter of cultural significance.

The crop is deeply woven into the fabric of Plateau State’s identity, and its revival symbolizes the resilience and determination of the communities to rebuild and move forward.

Public awareness campaigns can play a vital role in garnering support for the revitalization efforts. Highlighting the importance of the Irish potato supply chain to local economies and livelihoods can mobilize resources and galvanize community involvement.

The Bokkos attack has cast a long shadow over the Irish potato supply chain in Plateau State.

However, amidst the challenges, there is an opportunity for resilience, innovation, and collaboration to pave the way for a brighter and more sustainable future for agriculture in the area.