The paramount ruler of Ganye Chiefdom, the Gangwari Ganye, Alhaji Umar Sanda, has stated the reputation of his domain as the food basket of Adamawa State, producing crops not commonly found in northern parts of the country, is threatened by insecurity and other problems.
The first class chief, whose domain covers Jada, Ganye and Toungo, the three local government areas on the southern tip of Adamawa State, said his people produce cocoa and colanut and crops more common in the North, including coffee, sugarcane, and sorghum.
He however said the farmers face insecurity, inadequate inputs, lack of market, among others.
Ganye gained sufficient reputation as a leading producer of crops and livestock to be recognised as Adamawa’s food basket and home to an international cattle market, but the Gangwari Ganye told newsmen that his domain has begun to lose the shine.
The paramount ruler, who is set to mark his 20th anniversary on the throne this week, hosted a selected journalists at his palace in Ganye to a pre-anniversary briefing in which he called for government support to his people to keep the flag of his domain flying.
Fielding questions on the profile of Ganye as a cocoa-producing chiefdom, he said: “The problem generally now is people produce cocoa – it was government that introduced cocoa farming here. It was during the President Olusegun Obasanjo/ Governor Boni Haruna regime.
“Then, during the regime of Murtala Nyako (as Adamawa governor after Boni Haruna), people came to say the government asked us to start farming cocoa. We have cultivated cocoa and it is doing very well. Look at the cocoa pods, but where is the market? It was an embarrassment to me.”
He said the problem of lack of market for cocoa has continued for his people and other farmers face problems of their own, including poor returns for investments due to costly inputs.
To get round this, he suggested that certain inputs should be heavily subsidised for farmers so they can go into massive production and make profit and assure food security.
On insecurity, the Gangwari Ganye said it is a huge challenge to farmers.
“People are afraid to go to their farm. When I went to my own farm in Gembu, they told me they saw 12 people with guns.
“On a second occasion they said they saw eight. And we have terrains, forests and mountains, where these elements hide,” he stressed.
He lamented insecurity is killing the economy of his chiefdom, explaining: “We had a booming agro-based economy and people were coming to Ganye to invest, but in recent times, especially with rising kidnapping incidents, even people who have been here and moving away.”