President Muhammadu Buhari, at the weekend, lamented the devastation of over 450, 000 hectares of rice farms caused by floods in Kebbi State.
The Buhari who was represented by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Nanono, on a visit to assess the situation and commiserate with the State Government and affected farmers pledged assistance to mitigate the effects of the losses incurred.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Director, Information, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Theodore Ogaziechi, where Nanono described the floods as one of the worst disasters ever witnessed in recent times.
The Minister who was accompanied by the Governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Atiku Baguda, said his visit was “to restore hope and build up confidence for the farmers in the State.”
Hundreds of villages are said to be affected and many homelands washed away by the floods. Affected places the Minister visited include Argungu, Natsimi Gada of Argungu , and communities along the Dukku- Makera Road that were completely washed off, where he promised that seeds will be made available to the farmers to commence planting after the raining season and floods recede.
According to him Kebbi State being one of the major producers of the commodity in the country including other crops like maize, groundnuts, wheat, sweet potatoes, sorghum, and millet, and this huge loss will affect other states in the country.
He, therefore, promised that the Ministry will immediately set up a special committee to mitigate the situation and ensure that the dry season farming will be boosted.
He said the ministry will also encourage the farmers to explore the innovative early harvesting of their products as is done with other crops and promised to assist them with improved seeds.
He said: “What I have seen here today is very devastating, my coming here is at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari who has sent me to commiserate with the people of Kebbi state over the flood and to give you hope and assurance that the government is concerned about your plight and will do something.
“Meanwhile, affected farmers not to despair, the Federal Government will address the situation.
Also lamenting the unprecedented loss by farmers in the State, the Governor, Abubakar Bagudu, while explaining that it is not only the rice farms that were affected, but also animals, crops, and fishing grounds including human lives.
Bagudu also commended the resilience of affected farmers and encouraged them to do more not only to compensate for lost grounds but also to generate more support.
According to him, 2020 flooding in the State is worst after the 2012 experience, which over 450, 000 hectares of farmland stretching more than 270km of farmlands.
Meanwhile, he commended the Federal Government’s proactive steps taken to embark on an immediate assessment visit to the state and promised that the state will remain focused and consistent with its agricultural programmes.
The Minister also visited Sarki Kebbi Argungu, Alhaji Samaila Mohammed Mera, and the Emir of Gwandu who is also Chairman, Kebbi State Council of Chiefs, Alhaji Ilyasu Bashar. They both expressed appreciation for the speedy visit of the Federal Government to commiserate with the State.
The Emir of Gwandu, Alhaji Bashar said, the flooding affected many communities who had no option than to relocate. Bashar said the disaster came just when the people were recovering from the shock of COVID-19, which he mentioned crops lost to the flood, including rice, millet, sorghum, others.
The traditional ruler also called on the people to be patient and appealed to the media to assist in sensitizing them on the government’s efforts.