As flood continues to ravage several parts of Kogi State, especially the riverine areas, residents whose major source of livelihood is rice farming have continued to lament their losses as over 600 hectares of rice farmland have been submerged in water.
The PUNCH reported that the state experienced flooding about a week ago, leaving many residents, especially those close to the bank of River Niger, homeless and at the mercy of relatives and friends for temporary accommodation among other inconveniences.
This followed the opening of Lagdo Dam last week followed by the torrential rainfall on Sunday.
Many residents are still feeling the effects of the ravaging flood in the area as of the time of this report on Thursday.
Our correspondent reported that the victims are vulnerable farmers under the IFAD- Value Chain Development Programme Rural Poor Stimulus Facility, a programme aimed at cushioning the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on rural farmers.
The farmers, who are mainly from Ibaji, Lokoja and Ajaokuta local government areas, told Kogi VCDP Media team and journalists on Thursday in Lokoja that all their rice farmlands had been submerged by flooding.
The Ibaji Local Government Liaison Officer, Mr Achogu Fredrick, said about 216 rural farmers in Ibaji, who benefitted from the IFAD-VCDP RPSF, had all lost their rice farmlands to flood.
According to him, each of the 216 farmers had one hectare of rice farmland, totalling 216 hectares in Ibaji, adding that all had been submerged.
He stated that IFAD/ VCDP painstakingly funded RPSF to pull farmers from the dungeon of poverty created by COVID-19 in the system but the flood had, unfortunately, taken the people back into hunger and starvation.
He said, “The RPSF grant, which was a palliative to support the vulnerable rural farmers to cushion the effect of the COVID-19, has been lost again.
“A total of 216 farmers, who benefitted from the RPSF grant, had lost everything to the flood. Indeed, it is a double tragedy for us.
“We did not only lose our farmlands but also our houses and property.”
Speaking on the incident, the state programme coordinator of IFAD/VCDP, Dr Stella Adejoh, expressed sadness over the destruction of rice farms of the vulnerable rural farmers by flooding.