Rice farmers in Bayelsa State have lamented over the predicted flood in Bayelsa State and constant pests’ attacks on the farms, urging the state government to put up necessary measures to save their farms from being washed away.
According to them, the rising water level in the surrounding rivers is a source of worry over their premature rice farms, especially as they don’t have nearby functional processing facilities.
The Managing Director of Ovieya Rice Farm, Mr Ovieya Sini, told Daily Trust that he has already invested much in his 15 plots of rice farm in Famgbe Community in Yenagoa Local Government Area, but his major fears at the moment is the rising water level which makes it difficult to access the farm except with canoe.
He said constant attacks by pests and unavailability of functional processing facility in Yenagoa make things difficult for him and other rice farmers in the state, calling on government to assist them with pesticides and processing facility in order to produce rice that can feed Bayelsa and neighbouring states in the Niger Delta region.
He said “Another challenge is how to convey the farm produce to upland for processing; you know our terrain is riverine, but if government can assist us with boats and other palliative measures, I think we can produce rice that can feed Bayelsa and other states. Our land is good for rice cultivation.
“We also need funds to expand the farm. For example, I am cultivating 15 plots currently, if I have additional funds maybe from government or any other source, I can expand it to 30 or 50 plots because with this, we can tackle food shortage in our society.
“I have invested much resources already in the farm, but if government can assist with pesticides, tackle flooding in our society, we will have a bumper harvest,” he said.
Other rice farmers who spoke with Daily Trust on Sunday corroborated his assertions, while pleading with the authorities to save their farms.