Farmers in dire straits as flood washes N5bn rice in Kebbi
Due to the heavy rainfall in several parts of the country, over 500,000 hectares of farm produce estimated at over N5billion have been ravaged and thousands of people displaced in Kebbi, Nigeria.
Out of the 500,000 hectares which were recently devastated by flood, 450,000 hectares were for rice farms. The chairman of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Sani Dododo said farm produce worth over N5 billion was destroyed by flood.
He added that the loss recorded in rice farming could be put at 90 percent of the total value of farm produce in the state.
“Over 500,000 hectares of farmlands have been destroyed by flood, the destruction translates to over N5billion worth of farm produce.
“Rice farms constitute to about 90 percent of the farm produce destroyed,” he said.
A farmer, Libabatu Usman Kamba, expressed fears over imminent food scarcity, particularly as most of the farmers would not be able to mobilize for the next farming season due to the zero harvest this year.
Kamba said she cultivated over 20 hectares of rice this year at Cida Kai village in Dandi Local Government Area but lost over 16 hectares of the rice farm to flood. She said her crop was ready for harvest and was hoping to get 40 bags of rice per hectare and 700 bags of paddy.
Though she could not give an estimate of what she spent on the hectares submerged in the flood, she added that most farmers would not be able to go for dry season farming this year, hence the need for urgent government intervention.
Zuwaira Abubakar, another rice farmer in Argungu, said barely all rice farms in the area were submerged and that would affect farmers’ capital for dry season farming. Zuwaira, who cultivated over 25 hectares of rice, said she lost all to flood, adding that she had spent over N300,000 in the farm before the flood came.
She added, “We are calling on government to come to our aid. Many of us will be out of business if no intervention comes our way.
“Farmers don’t keep money, the more we make in the business the more we open more farmlands, that is the secret of the farming business otherwise you won’t last long in it.”
Another farmer, Suleiman Bashir, who stood helplessly by his rice farm which was submerged along Dukku/Makera road in Birnin Kebbi Local Government Area appealed to the state and federal governments to come to their aid.
“I don’t know what to do, I have two large rice farms and they have been completely submerged.
“We are appealing to the state and federal governments to assist us,” he said.
The National President of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Aminu Goronyo, who toured some of the affected places while in the entourage of the Kebbi State governor, described the incident as devastating. Goronyo assured the farmers of federal government intervention because the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had sent its officials to the state to assess the situation for immediate intervention.
“The CBN governor has directed RIFAN to mobilize one million farmers that can produce five million metric tonnes of rice during the dry season commencing in November for support,” he said.
Also speaking with newsmen at Bakin Gada in Argungu Local Government Area after inspecting rice farms destroyed in some local government areas, Governor Abubakar Bagudu expressed shock over the incident, describing it as regrettable.