The Federal Government also approved money for the implementation of the flood management policy nationwide.
The Federal Government has begun the free distribution of 900 metric tonnes of assorted grains to victims of flood disasters in Ondo State. The grains are from the 25 thousand metric tonnes capacity silos along Oda Road in Akure, the state capital.
The items, which is about 30 trailer loads and consist of 660 metric tonnes of Maize, 180 metric tonnes of sorghum and 60 metric tonnes of Garri, were part of the 40 thousand metric tonnes of food items released from the strategic grains reserves by President Goodluck Jonathan as palliatives for the recent flood victims in parts of Nigeria.
At the distribution, which involved victims in Akure South Local Government, scores, mainly women and old men were given bags of garri, while other grains including sorghum and maize would be brought for them from the Strategic Grain Reserve Silos in Ibadan.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Akinwumi Adesina, while addressing beneficiaries disclosed that the release of the food items is the first part of four pronged approach to the management of the flood disasters that ravaged parts of the country with economic woes on the victims.
Mr. Adesina, who was represented by the Regional Director, Western Zone of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Julius Odeyemi, said the Federal Government has released a sum of N9.7 billion for the implementation of the plan nationwide.
Other components of the plan include distribution of planting materials to farmers free of charge, procurement and distribution of fertilizers and procurement of small-scale irrigation water pumps for off-season farming.
He also disclosed that a N17.6 billion all-inclusive programme of addressing housing and health challenges thrown up by the disaster has been approved by the President “to address the immediate challenges of displaced families and further put in place measures that will reduce the impact on displaced farmers.”
The minister warned that the items must not be sold under any guise and that security agencies have been told to implement the directive.
He said Lagos, Imo, Ondo, Ogun, Abia, Enugu, Osun and Ebonyi States would pick their consignments of relief grains from the Akure Silos Complex.
On his part, the Ondo State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ademola Olorunfemi, said the state had already prepared 500 hectares of land at the site of Owena Multipurpose Dam for lowland rice cultivation, to complement the fourth component of the flood disaster management programme.
Mr. Olorunfemi said the effect of the recent flood disaster was not very devastating on the people of the state due to the proactive measures put in place by the State Government, which had engaged in channelisation of rivers and clearing of drainages across the state.
He said despite this some people suffered from the effect of flood as farmlands and fish ponds were washed away by the flood, though not as pronounced as in some parts of the country.
The commissioner said the flag-off was the beginning of the food distribution in the state adding that it would be carried out in all other 18 local governments.