Some graduate commercial farmers at Oke Ako–Ipao axis of Ekiti State, yesterday protested the alleged destruction of crops worth N35 million by suspected herdsmen grazing their cattle in the area.
The angry farmers, who stormed the State House of Assembly with placards of different inscriptions, also visited the offices of the Governor Ayodele Fayose and the Commissioner for Agriculture, Hon. Kehinde Odebunmi, to lodge similar complaint.
They lamented that herdsmen operating in the area, had destroyed their maize plantation covering over 30 hectares of land and cassava planted on an expansive land of over 20 hectares .
The farmers said the programme was being undertaken under Ipao Youth in Commercial Agriculture Cooperative in partnership with Matna Foods in Akure, Ondo State.
The victims, who stormed the Assembly at about 10am told the Speaker, Hon Kola Oluwawole, that they started the programme with a sum of N3 million in partnership with Matna for the plantation of the crops, saying their hopes had been shattered.
Spokesman of the victims, Rotimi Fapohunda, said: “Shortly after we started planting , we noticed that some herdsmen used to come for grazing around that area at night. Later, we started noticing the presence of cows on the farms at noon, but we didn’t see the owners.’’
The Speaker, who condemned the destruction, said this action could dissuade young graduates from engaging in commercial farming as being encouraged by government.’’