By James Emejo
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, has said the federal government will support farmers in Kebbi State whose farmlands were recently devastated by flooding.
The flooding reportedly washed off over 450,000 hectares of rice farmlands and other crops in the state.
But speaking during an on-the-spot assessment of the devastation, the minister, alongside Governor Abubakar Bagudu said the government will ensure that the affected farmers get improved seeds to restart planting as soon as the rains recedes.
In a statement issued Sunday, Nanono described the incidence as one of the worst disasters witnessed in recent times, adding that his visit was to restore hope and build confidence in the farmers.
Shortly after he visited the scenes of the floods in Argungu and along the Dukku- Makera road, which were completely washed off, the minister 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.”
He said the state remained one of the major producers of rice and other crops including maize, groundnut, wheat, sweet potatoes, sorghum and millet, adding that a loss to Kebbi will affect other states of the federation.
Nanono said his ministry will immediately set up a special committee to mitigate the situation and ensure that the dry season farming is boosted.
He said the ministry will also encourage the farmers to explore the innovative early harvesting of their produce as the case is with other crops and further promised to assist them with improved seeds.
Bagudu however lamented the massive loss to the farmers, pointing out that it was not only the rice farms that were affected but also animal crops and fishing grounds as well as human lives.
He acknowledged the resilience of the farmers and encouraged them to do more not only to compensate for lost grounds but also to generate more support.
He said the latest flooding remained the worst since the 2012 experience in the state.
He expressed gratitude to the federal government for the 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.
Several villages were reportedly affected while homelands were also washed away by the floods.