For a Safer Earth, Healthier Climate

Flooding Submerges VCDP Rice Farm In Kogi

By Austin Alfa, Lokoja

Rice farmers who are beneficiaries of the Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) under the FGN/IFAD assisted project in Kogi State have lamented over the colossal loss of their rice farms to flooding.

These beneficiaries are vulnerable farmers under the IFAD-VCDP Rural Poor Stimulus Facility (RPSF), aimed at cushioning the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on rural farmers.

This is a clear story of flying from frying pan to fire as several of these people may develop disaster-induced high blood pressure which may degenerate into other serious issues because their only hope of survival was taken away by the flood.

The farmers who are mainly from Ibaji, Lokoja, and Ajaokuta Local Government Areas, told Our Correspondent on Thursday in Lokoja, that all their rice farmlands had been submerged by flooding.

Narrating the ordeal,

the Ibaji Local Government Liaison Officer, Mr Achogu Fredrick, said about a total of 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 were having one hectare of rice farmland totaling 216 hectares in Ibaji, and all have 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 unfortunately the flood event pushed the people back again into hunger and starvation.

”The RPSF grant which was a palliative to support us as vulnerable rural farmers to cushion the effect of COVID-19 has been lost again.

”A total of 216 farmers who benefitted from the RPSF grant have 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 properties. Presently the fear of what tomorrow holds for the farmers is what is in the heart of the people now.

”We are calling on the federal, state, and other relevant organisations to come to our aid because this is colossal damage that cannot be repaired. In fact, the entire Kogi VCDP farmers are in a mourning mood currently.

Other beneficiaries in Ibaji: Mr. Friday Ofor, Joel Ogala, Enefo Festus, Samuel Joseph, and Victoria Ajodo, in their separate comments, expressed sadness over the sudden loss of their rice farms to flooding.

”We never expected this kind of great loss, it took us unaware. We are appealing to the relevant agencies and authorities to come to our aid,” Ajodo said.

In their separate comments, the youth and women farmers’ leaders in both Kabawa and Magajiya Clusters in Lokoja, Seidu Liman and Maryam Abubakar, respectively, who were beneficiaries of RPSF described the loss as a great, after investing time and resources only to have all swept away by the flood.

Liman said the devastating effect of the loss of their rice farmlands to flooding would be huge on them and their wellbeing.

They further called on the government to come to their aid by providing palliatives for immediate relief.

The affected farmers in all three local government areas lamented that they not only lost their farmlands but also their buildings and properties.

They stressed that the flood had further exposed them to more suffering than before.

Speaking on the incident, Dr Stella Adejoh, State Programme Coordinator of IFAD/VCDP, expressed sadness over the destruction of rice farms of the vulnerable rural farmers by flooding

According to her, several people lost their means of livelihood during the COVID-19 pandemic and consequently faced hardships including vulnerable rural farmers.

She explained that IFAD-VCDP through the RPSF grant decided to help the vulnerable farmers affected by the pandemic to bring them out of their poverty situation.

Dr Adejoh said the farmers were provided with grants in form of inputs by IFAD such as fertilizer, certified rice seeds, selective and non-selective herbicides, among others

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