‘Hope not lost on Ondo branded rice’
By Kehinde Oluwatayo
Hope of Ondo State people to consume the state branded rice this festive period is not completely lost as stakeholders are working on how to salvage the situation.
It would be recalled that over 600 hectares of rice farms were washed away in the state recently.
Speaking on how rice could be made available for the populace with ban on importation in an interview with The Hope, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu on Agric and Agribusiness, Pastor Akin Olotu said damage control could still be done on those that were not badly affected.
According to him, those that were endangered were those that were planted early, which were already having seeds and are getting ready for harvesting. He added that people are still looking at how they can salvage the situation.
Olotu who stressed that those that were submerged can not be salvaged explained that the quality of grains of rice will be affected when it’s panicles came under water for about six or seven days.
While calling on the Federal Government to come to the aid of the affected farmers, he said the situation was a major source of discouragement.
According to him, there are still places where dry season rice farming could be done in the lowland area calling on federal government to intervene as a matter of urgency.
“Farmers should not be left to lick their wound. This is a source of discouragement to them. National Emergency Management Agency should rice up and assist farmers. National disaster is not only when building collapses. This is a more national disaster”.
While saying although damage control could still be done on those that were not badly affected, Olotu said “the most important thing is that as we think of what to eat, we should consider those that are crying”.
On his own, Chairman of Ondo State Agricultural Commodities Association (OSACA), Mr Gbenga Obaweya called on government to help the farmers by paying them compensation so that they can pick themselves up again for dry season farming.
Describing the losses as substantial, Obaweya called on government to have a serious assessment in conjunction with the farmers so that it can make up where there is a shortfall to meet the demand of the populace.
He advised the farmers who were affected to pick themselves up and be ready for dry season farming.