The promoter of Herlow Rudyns Cashew Farms, Alhaji Miftah Adediran, has lamented that herdsmen set fire on his cashew plantation sitting on 1,720 hectares of land in the Oke Ogun axis of Oyo State.
In a telephone interview with our correspondent, Adediran narrated that efforts made by a security team to disperse the herdsmen who invaded the multi-million naira cashew plantation proved abortive.
Instead of leaving his plantation, the farmer explained the herders asked to pay N10,000 to occupy his plantation, which was rejected.
“On the second day of their arrival, a huge fire started around 6.30 am in the middle of Plot 34 on the farm. This time around, the security teams with the farmworkers all rushed to the scene and were met by herders numbering more than 15 with guns and machetes. Sighting the herders with guns, our farm workers took to their heels.
“Before their departure from the farm, huge fireballs were seen in many parts of the farm,” he added.
When asked further if the attack was the first, the promoter said, “We have been managing farm crisis for a long time. On this same farm, herders have set our tractor on fire before, damaged our bulldozers, they had deliberately used cutlass to cut down young cashew trees, graze cattle on young plantations. Cattle do not eat cashew but they trample on them when they are young and most don’t survive.
“There were cases when herders will uproot cassava and yams on our smaller farms to feed their cattle. You then ask yourself if this was an accident or a deliberate act.
In order not to take laws into our hands, we reported many of these cases to the Police. In fact, there was time a damage of about N5million was caused to our bulldozer. We took some herders to the Police and they started pleading for help.”
When asked what his plans are for the farm after the attack, Adediran said, “I don’t even know when we can access the farm as all the workers and security had left for the fear of being killed.
“A security operative once advised us against going to the farm on Thursdays as it’s the herders market day and guns and other lethal weapons are freely carried on motorbikes along our bush path.
“Our loss on the farm is massive. We have not made money on the farm ever since we have been committing resources. Cashew trees start to fruit after the third year of planting.
“As we speak investment of close to N500 million in worth has been consumed. Hopefully, someday soon, we ll return to our farms to go and start all over again.