Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta on Tuesday lamented the huge food losses recorded by farmers whose farms were washed away in the state by the flood this year.
He stated this while declaring open the 2018 World Food Day with the theme “Achieving Zero Hunger” in Asaba.
The governor, represented by his Special Adviser on Infrastructure and Housing Development, Sen. Emmanuel Agwarivwodo, said that the state government could not handle the resettling of the farmers alone.
“The farmers in the hinterland are not spared and government is aware of the enormous losses recorded by the farmers due to the weather condition.
“The damage is widespread such that the state government cannot handle alone, so we are calling on the Federal Government, private sector and other wealthy individuals to come and assist us,“the governor said.
He said that concerted efforts and good policies would be needed to revamp agriculture, reduce hunger and poverty in the country.
According to the governor, weather condition is worrisome and frantically impacted 15 local government areas in the state, adding, “we are still counting the losses.“
The governor, however, urged farmers to be patient and not to relent in their personal efforts to ensure food production, assuring them that the state government was making effort to cushion the effects of the flood.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr Austin Oghoro, in an address of welcome said that the state government was committed to achieve zero hunger through empowerment of farmers to ensure mass produce food across the state.
According to him, the state Agriculture and Rural Development Agency has been re-tooled for efficient performance in a bid to encourage best practices.
“Government efforts to extend support to farmers for maize and plantain production, plans to support farmers on land development and irrigation have been worked out for implementation.
“The state in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Programme is engaging about 3,500 farmers in cassava, rice and aquaculture programmes.
“However, our efforts at achieving zero hunger have not been without challenges; the most daunting one is the flooding.
“A good number of our farmers have suffered huge losses this year due to flood and in some cases loss of lives was involved”.
In an interview with Newsmen Mrs Adamu Salamatu, Chairperson, Igala Rice Multi-purpose Co-operative Society, Oko, Oshimili South Local Government Area of the state, said that the association lost about 50 hectares of rice farm to flood this year.
She said that the farm would have produced over 500 tonnes of rice but for flood which washed away the crops before harvest.
“We could have achieved that feat because the Governor, Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa, supported us with the needed impute, including paddy rice, fertiliser, insecticides and rice mill.
“If not for the flood, a bag of rice would have been sold in Delta for N8,000 this year.“
Also, Mr Joseph Akpiuyi, a Warri-based fish farmer said he was counting his gains from fish production and packaging for local consumption and for exports.