More than 200 hectares of rice farms have been destroyed by flood in four communities of Etsako Central Local Government Area of Edo.
Mr Killian Onuobi, the Secretary of Osomegbe Rice Farmers Association, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ekperi that the devastation affected Udochi, Annegbette, Udaba and Osomegbe communities.
“I am not making a vague statement when I said that more than 200 hectares of rice farms were destroyed in the four communities of Etsako Central.
“I have about 25 hectares of rice farm myself and my farm is small, compared to bigger rice farms devastated by the flood in the communities,” he said.
Onuobi said that many of the rice farmers borrowed money to cultivate their farms.
He bemoaned a situation in which the farmers would be unable to pay back the loans they took since flood had washed away their farms.
“This was not what we bargained for but we have every reason to be grateful to God for sparing our lives to tell the story.
“The affected communities are the largest growers of rice in Edo State.
“It is a pity that many of us could not salvage anything from our farms as the flood came unexpected,” he said.
Onuobi, however, commended the federal, state and local governments for assisting the flood victims by setting up relief camps for them.
He, nonetheless, stressed that more efforts should be made to rehabilitate the displaced rice farmers.
Onuobi particularly urged the federal and state governments to provide the farmers with funds and improved varieties of rice seeds.
“We will appreciate it if we can get rice species that could be harvested between three and four months.
“If we can get seedlings and some financial assistance from the government, it will enable us to get back on our feet in good time,” he said.