The Kebbi State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) says farmers have lost more than N5 billion worth of farm produce to floods in the state.
The Chairman, Kebbi State SEMA, Sani Dododo, made the disclosure in an interview with newsmen in Birnin Kebbi, the capital city of Kebbi State, on Wednesday.
Mr Dododo spoke shortly after a condolence visit to the families of the victims of a boat mishap in Jega Local Government Area (LGA), of the state, which claimed the lives of eight persons.
He appealed to the Federal Government to urgently assist the state in mitigating the effects of natural disasters that have continued to destroy lives and livelihoods of people in the state.
“I want to use this medium to call on the Federal Government and International Donor Agencies, to come to the aid of Kebbi State Government and its people.
“So that we can go back and engage in dry season farming to at least cushion the effect of the losses incurred during this farming season.
“Preliminary assessment showed that damage to rice plantations and other produce due to the flood could be over N5 billion, and this is just the beginning.
“NIMET’s report indicated that 102 LGAs across Nigeria are expected to be hit by flood in September, while in Kebbi State, 11 local government areas would be affected,” he said.
Giving an account of the damage, Mr Dododo said the flood submerged more than 450,000 hectares of rice plantation in the lowland, adding that over 50,000 hectares of millet, sorghum, maize and sugarcane were also destroyed on the highlands.
“When you combine the two areas, you will arrive at about 500,000 hectares destroyed by flood this year and rice farmers are the worse hit.
“This is because rice constitutes about 90 per cent of the total plantation, the remaining crops stood at only 10 per cent.
“It is very sad to state that this year, our people, both retired and serving civil servants, peasant and large scale farmers, all went back to farm to contribute to the Federal Government’s national food security programme, in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s plea,” he said.
He stressed that almost everybody in Kebbi State engaged in farming this year, adding that all categories of people invested in agricultural business with a view to keeping the state on top in the rice revolution in the country.
He assured that Gov. Atiku Bagudu remains committed to diversifying the economy from the oil sector to agriculture.
Dododo listed the 11 LGAs affected by flooding in the state to include; Argungu, Birnin Kebbi, Bunza, Suru, Koko-Besse, Yauri, Shanga, Bagudo, Maiyama, Jega and Dandi.
He appealed to victims of the disaster to accept what happened as an act of God, assuring them that National Emergency Management Agency(NEMA) and SEMA would provide the needed support to help them return to normalcy.
“Such assistance is just to cushion the effects of the losses incurred,” he added.