Mr Adegboyega Adefarati, the Ondo State Commissioner for Agriculture, on Wednesday urged farmers in the state to register their farms with the agricultural insurance scheme to avoid total loss after natural disasters.
Adefarati gave this advice after the tour of rice and vegetable farms destroyed by flood at Ogbese and Uso in Akure North and Owo Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the tour was to assess the extent of destruction to the farmlands and the kind of assistance required to alleviate the farmers’ losses.
According to him, farmers must take proactive measures to secure their farms by insuring them against natural disasters like flood and fire.
“It has become imperative for our farmers to key into agricultural insurance scheme to avoid losses during any natural disaster that affect farms.
“It is very important that all farmers, whether assisted by donor agency or on their own as individuals take up agriculture insurance policy.
“People will say, I have been doing rice farming here for over 10 years and this type of flooding has never happened.
“But one cannot actually say when this kind of disaster will happen and the insurance policy to cover for the losses is just a token, like 2.5 per cent of the farmers total input in the rice farming.
“So, we will need to educate our farmers more on the need to foresee this type of natural disaster and prepare for it in advance,’’ he said.
The commissioner said that the damages to the farms could affect farmers and the economic growth of the state, if urgent action was not taken.
He appealed to the Federal Government to assist the farmers whose farmlands and crops were destroyed in the disaster.
Adefarati said that farmers in the two villages cultivated mainly rice and vegetable, adding that the situations were pathetic as it was not easy for them to see their efforts destroyed suddenly by flooding
He said that about nine hectares of cucumber, tomatoes and pepper farms were destroyed in Ogbese farm settlement by the flood.
Mr Olusiji Olatunji, State Project Coordinator, Fadama, said that about 600 hectares of rice farms were destroyed by flood out of 1,300 hectares in Uso and Ogbese farm settlements.
He said that the Federated Fadama Association, under Rice Anchor Programme of CBN, through the Bank of Agriculture, cultivated 300 hectares of rice in Ogbese and Uso LGAs.
According to him, out of these 300 hectares, 50 hectares of rice farms are destroyed in Ogbese and 250 hectares in Uso by flooding.
The Coordinator said the extent of the destruction was saddening, adding that the youths secured bank loans on their own and added their personal savings to invest in the rice farming.
“It is sad because grant to farmers by Fadama lll project for free has expired and those farmers affected secured loans on their own to put on their farms.
“We have liaised with both the federal and state governments through the ministry of agriculture.
“We have also intimated the Federal Office of Fadama, and their case has been taken up,’’ he said.
Mr Akinseye Christopher, Chief Agric Officer, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said he would report back to the office the level of destruction caused by the flood.
Mr Yinka Labiran, the Coordinator for Fadama Rice Farmers in Ondo State, appealed to all tiers of government to come to their aids by rescuing them out of debt.
“It is a loss that we do not know how to recover because we invested over N91 million and the money is a loan from CBN through the Bank of Agriculture.
“We are at a loss now and we do not know if government will come to our aid.
“Most of the farmers came to farm to have a source of livelihood, now there is no way to get out of debts if the governments, federal or state and Fadama do not come to help us,’’ he said.
One of the farmers from Taraba State, Mr Kafas Kukang, said that all his 20 hectares of rice farms were washed away by the flood.
He said that he had eight labourers working in his farm.
“I borrowed N1.5 million from the bank and invested it on this rice farm with the hope of getting good returns at the end of the season but this flooding has dashed my hope.
“I am appealing to the government to help me because I do not have money to pay my labourers and each of them collects N200, 000,’’ he said.
Edited by Kabir Muhammad/Grace Yussuf
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