• Monday, June 24, 2024
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Farmers suffer losses as floods destroy crops in Nasarawa, Anambra

Flood: Hunger looms as farmers count losses in Edo

Farmers and investors in Nasarawa State have suffered huge losses after floods destroyed thousands of hectares of farmlands and food crops running into millions of dollars.

The Olam Rice Farm located in Lukubi Doma Local Government Area of the state has been hit by major flooding in the past weeks which resulted in the destruction of crops worth millions of naira and critical infrastructure. The farm land, which sits on 10,000 hectares, is one of the largest rice farms in Nigeria and Africa with N140 million worth of investment.

Ade Adefeko, vice-president, corporate and government relations at Olam Nigeria, disclosed that 25 percent of Nigeria’s rice needs was lost in one fell swoop – a situation that may result in a major rice scarcity, especially as the yuletide period draws near.

Experts had in a recent interview with BusinessDay expressed concerns that the persisting flood across the country might result in food scarcity.

Adefeko revealed that Olam had battled the waters for many weeks until the water pressure eventually broke the dykes (a long wall or embankment built to prevent flooding from the sea) and submerged the farmlands.

Dele Momodu, chairman of Ovation Media Group, who disclosed the incident via his verified Instagram page @delemamoduovation, said: “I was terribly sad to receive this footage from my amazing friend and brother @aadefeko at breakfast this morning and he narrated his company’s ordeal in Nasarawa State. What a monumental tragedy. May God help the company replenish this huge loss.”

He also quoted Adefeko as saying, “We have 57 kilometres of dykes surrounding the farm. The farm has a cultivated area of 12-km by 7 km. The 57 km of dykes were meant to stop the floods from entering. These were made after the floods impacted us in 2021. The dykes around the farm protected the farm from flood waters. We have been battling the waters since last two to three weeks but finally the water pressure took over and broke the dykes at multiple spots…”

The flooding in Nasarawa which began in September has also destroyed several other farmlands and properties. Data from the Nasarawa State Emergency Management Agency shows that more than 90 communities have been affected, with over 400,000 persons displaced by the floods. The agency said it is developing new strategies to deal with the disaster.

The flooding is currently caused by an increase in rainfall and the release of water from Lagdo Dam in Cameroon, among other factors. Nasarawa is one of the most affected states, even as farmers in several other states have also lamented huge losses.

Read also: 5 things to know about IMF’s Food Shock Window programme

In the North-East, up to 200,000 hectares of land have been destroyed. Farmers in the region have expressed concerns over large-scale destruction of produce, saying the damage caused by the disaster could be estimated at over N30 billion.

The flood destroyed rice, maize, sorghum, millet, beans, groundnut, beans farms and hundreds of livestock.

The Onitsha-Otuocha-Omor- Adani road, leading to Ayamelum Local Government, Anambra State, has been flooded, with heavy rain falls submerging buildings and destroying farmlands.

Commenting on the incident after on-the-spot assessment of the damage caused by the flood disaster that overflew Igbariam-Ezu River bank, Livinus Onyenwe, transition committee chairman of Ayamelum Local Government Area, lamented that the incident had destroyed their entire farmlands.

He urged the National Emergency Management Agency and the Anambra State government to come to their aid.

“We want government to assist the victims of the ugly incident with relief materials to cushion the effects of the disaster on them,” he said.

Commuters were seen stranded at the bus stops in Anaku with little or no means of transportation as motorists who did not want to be trapped inside the flood avoided the road.

A native of Anaku who was affected by the development, Peter Onuorah, regretted that the incident had grounded the economic activities of the people, who are predominantly farmers.

“Our people could not farm since rain set in. We appealed to the National Emergency Management Agency and Anambra State Emergency Management Agency to provide the farmers with boats for the running of their daily activities since the only access road in the area has been blocked,” he said.