Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari over the weekend stated that the heavy floods which ravaged Kebbi state in the past few days, are a major setback affecting the country’s attempt to end importation.
President Buhari, in a statement Sunday said the destruction of thousands of acres of farm land has majorly pushed back the country’s local rice production industry.
“I am particularly saddened by the Kebbi flooding disaster, which has led to the loss of lives and destruction of thousands of hectares of farmland. It is a major setback to our efforts to boost local rice production as part of measures to end importation”, he said.
“This bad news couldn’t have come at a worse time for our farmers and other Nigerians who looked forward to a bumper harvest this year in order to reduce the current astronomical rise in the costs of food items in the markets.
“Kebbi State is the focal point of our policy to produce rice locally as part of the administration’s commitment to agricultural revival. I sympathize with the bereaved families and the farmers affected. We will work closely with the State Government to bring relief to all victims”, Buhari added.
In Kebbi, an estimated 450,000 hectares of rice plantation in the lowland and over 50,000 hec of millet, sorghum, maize and sugarcane in the highlands have been swept away by flood.
“With the loss of six lives and still counting, thousands of hectares flooded and estimated economic losses of more than one billion naira by rice farmers, we face a major setback in our efforts to boost local food production”, the president had earlier said Wednesday.