The Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) in Delta State has lamented the loss of over N30.4 million worth of paddy rice, and fertilisers to rainstorm in Asaba.
The RIFAN Chairman, Chief Sylvanus Ejezie, who disclosed in Asaba on Monday that the loss to farmers was colossal explained that when the news first reached him on Sunday that the rainstorm the previous day had damaged the warehouse on Ibusa Road, Asaba, he thought it was just a minor incident.
“Behold, on reaching there, the damage was colossal. It was a tragedy as everything in the warehouse got soaked and had been destroyed by water. I cried because all we have worked for last year got destroyed by the rain.
“It is a heavy burden on the farmers because it was the produce of the RIFAN -Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor borrower’s loan to the farmers for the year 2021,” Ejezie lamented.
He said that it would be difficult for the farmers to recover from the loss unless government at all levels come to their aide.
Also, the RIFAN Secretary, Mr Abraham Epochi, said the loss suffered could be put at N30.4 million.
According to him, the rainstorm on Saturday night wreaked havoc; it blew off the roof and caused the wall on the backside of the warehouse to collapse and the facility flooded.
“As you can see, 2, 726 bags of fertilisers NPK 201010 and NPK 20510 special blend for rice production and these 647 bags of 75kg, and 3,659 bags of 100kg paddy rice are soaked and destroyed by the rain.
“The cost of the fertiliser is put at N18.9 million, the value as at last year, while the paddy rice is put at N11.5 million lost to the rain”.
He said that efforts made to sell the paddy rice were futile because the rice millers, said that they were badly soaked and could not be salvaged.
“So, we are crying to both the Federal and State governments and well spirited individuals to come to our aide to help us because the damage is huge.
“The fertilisers have been soaked and nutrients washed away by the waters as such it is no longer useful.
“We need help to be able to payback our loans and to continue with the programme. We did not expect this, indeed it is a natural disaster,” Epochi said.
The rainstorm being the first rain in Asaba and environs also blew off roof tops of residential houses and warehouse in Ibusa axis and other locations in the state capital.