The farmers said they want to commence their farming early for next planting season
Farmers and Community leaders in flood affected areas of Edo and Delta States have asked the Federal Government to urgently come to their aid so that they can commence their farming before the next planting season.
More than 800 hectares of yam and plantain farms were destroyed by flood in three communities in Oshimili South and Ndokwa East Local Government Area of Delta.
In neighbouring Edo State, over 350 hectares of cassava farm were destroyed by floods
The affected communities in Delta are Oko-Amakom, Oko-Anala, and Oko-Ogbele in Oshimili South; and Abala Oshimili in Ndokwa.
An opinion Leader in Oko-Amakom, Joe Opene, told a correspondent, who visited the areas, that about 800 hectares of farm lands were destroyed by the ravaging flood in the three communities.
Mr. Opene explained that the major occupations of the people in the communities were farming and fishing.
“Our communities are known for farming yams, potatoes, plantain and cassava. As I am taking now, we don’t even have these crops to plant for the next farming season, because the flood destroyed all our farm produce.
“In fact, our people are crying out of hunger, since most of them returned from the camps and our major challenge now is hunger,” he said.
Another community Leader, in Oko-Anala, Paul Oranyeli, commended the State and the Federal Governments for assisting the flood victims by setting up relief camps.
Mr. Oranyeli, however, lamented the challenges being faced by the farmers, adding that the farmers lost both their farm produce and seedlings to the flood. He said the farmers can’t even prepare for the next planting season now, because all their seedlings and cassava stems have been destroyed by the flood.
The community leader appealed to the Federal and the State Governments to come to their aid by providing them funds and improved varieties of seedlings and cassava stem cuttings, to enable them prepare for the next farming season.
“As you can see, the next farming is drawing near and farmers are supposed to start preparing but all they need now is support from the government.
“This will go a long way in reducing hunger in the various communities,” Mr. Oranyeli said
Like Delta, like Edo
The Edo North coordinator of All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Abdulahi Mohammed, said in Auchi that the flood, which affected Etsako East and Etsako Central Local Government Areas of the state, caused serious damage to the council areas which were known for growing cassava, rice and yam.
The farmer lamented that most of the cassava farmland destroyed by the flood was almost at harvesting stage. He called on the State and Federal Governments to urgently map out strategies of ameliorating the suffering of the affected farmers.
Mr. Mohammed said the affected farmers would face a lot of pressure coping with losses because most of them borrowed money to farm. He, however, commended the efforts of the governments, individuals and organisations, for identifying with the flood victims, called for additional donations for the victims.
“The most important thing I think these people need now is assistance for them to go back to their normal business, which is farming. They need assistance in form of finance, farm inputs and implements.
“Government can make things happen fast because November and December are a good time for planting cassava,’’ the coordinator said.
The farmer also urged the Federal Government to reinvigorate its agriculture policy implementation, especially that on cassava. He said that government policies on agriculture were good but they most often ended up on the pages of newspapers.
”If this new policy on cassava flour for bread is to work out well, then government must not only work with the farmers but plan with them as well,” Mr. Mohammed said.