Taraba state Chairman of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), Tanko Bobbo Andame, has said that there will be shortage of paddy rice in the state as a result of destruction of dry season rice farms in Lau and Karim-Lamido local government areas by fungal disease.
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He told North East Trust in an exclusive interview that thousands of hectares of rice farms under dry season farming were destroyed by the disease.
He said the disease which affected leaves and roots of rice crop has completely destroyed several rice farms in the affected local government areas.
According to him, the disease has affected the output of rice production thereby causing shortage of paddy rice.
Tanko Andame further informed North East Trust that price of local rice may increase as a result of looming shortage of the produce.
The chairman stated that the destruction was very adverse as a farmer who expected to harvest 300 bags of paddy rice might harvest 10 bags.
He said only few of the affected farmers that received Central Bank Anchor borrowers loan are covered by insurance but the rest of the farmers who were not covered by insurance had lost all their investments.
He commended Taraba state government for dispatching team of agriculture experts from International institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and National Cereal Research institute to the effected farms.
The chairman, however, called on the federal and Taraba state governments to assist the affected farmers to cushion the effect of their loss.
“The affected farmers have lost everything in the farm and they need assistance from both federal and Taraba state governments,” he said.
The Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr David Kassa, also told North East Trust that the state government was concerned with the plight of the farmers affected by the fungal disease.
He said the experts that came and visited the farms have advised that farmers should avoid Paro 66 and 62 seed variety because it is always affected by the fungal disease.
He said Karim-Lamido and Lau local government area has high potential of rice production during dry season and government would sustain its effort to boost rice production.