By Steve Oni, Ilorin
No fewer than 458 farms under the Central Bank if Nigeria (CBN) anchor borrowers scheme have been submerged by flood in some parts of Kwara state.
The farms are situated on 3, 200 hectares federal government’s Tada-Shonga Irrigation land for rice cultivation in Shonga, Edu local government area of the state.
The rice was due for harvest in October this year.
The state governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, who led a federal lawmaker, Hon. Aliyu Ahman-Patigi, representative of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Elijah Aderibigbe and the Managing Director, Lower Niger River Basin Development Authority, Mr. Adeniyi Aremu to the flooded farms, urged the federal government to come to the aid of the affected farmers.
Ahmed, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Alahji Yusuf Abdulwahab, said the natural disaster had hampered the state’s quest to showcase its efforts in massive rice production.
He noted that the fund for the rice cultivation was sought from CBN to support agricultural business in the state, adding that the flooded rice farms are part of the state’s major flagship agricultural scheme with huge value addition and appealed to the federal government to expedite action on dyke reconstruction.
The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Water Resources, Hon. Aliyu Ahman- Patigi, expressed concern over the loss and advised the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to immediately come up with plans to mitigate the effect of the flood on the farmers.
He disclosed that the sum of N720m was budgeted for the construction of dyke in this year’s budget to permanently secure the rice farms against flooding in future.
Also speaking, the representative of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Elijah Aderibigbe, announced that the first phase of the dyke construction would be completed by April, 2019.
Aderibigbe who is the Acting Director of Irrigation and Drainage in the ministry, said the federal government is interested in the farms and would do everything possible to get the flood protection project completed.