Ekiti State is at risk of an impending famine following the destruction of food and cash crop plantations covering over 5000 hectares of land by wildfires across the state, the Ekiti State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) said.
Sunday Adebomi , chairman of the agency, divulged that the recent fire incident had ravaged food crops belonging to about 2,400 farmers, amounting to millions of naira in losses and likelihood of a shortage in food production and supply in the state.
Adebomi, who made the disclosure on Monday, while inspecting cocoa, oil palm and other food and cash crop plantations ruined by the fire disaster in Omuo-Ekiti, Ekiti East Local Government Area and some plantations in Oye Local Government Area, bemoaned that food and cash crops estimated at about five thousand hectares were destroyed during the fire disaster, adding that it might affect the development of agriculture in the state.
He also stressed that the disaster if not properly managed, might lead the state to experience food shortage later in the year, creating more hardship for residents.
Adebomi however expressed optimism that the Kayode Fayemi administration would do everything to mitigate the losses and bring succour to the affected farmers through the provision of seedlings, chemicals as well as other relief materials to help alleviate the losses caused by the inferno.
The SEMA chairman admonished the farmers to see the fire incident as a major challenge for them to strive more and embrace mechanized farming, as the government was prepared to empower them in the next planting season by creating measures to ensure the imminent food shortage is brought under control.
He also explained that arrangements have been concluded by the Ekiti State government to ensure a total re-engineering of agriculture by involving key policymakers and youths in the development of the agricultural sector.
Recounting his losses,Sunday Fajana, a 75-year-old retired civil servant based in Ikota, Omuo-Ekiti, said he lost about five hectares of cocoa and oil palm plantation in the inferno.
According to him, the fire incident, which occurred in the night, destroyed all that he had laboured for since his retirement from the Ekiti civil service.
Fajana thereafter appealed to the government and well meaning members of the public to assist him financially.
Commenting on the disaster, Ogundeji Adeyeye, the traditional ruler of Omu-Ekiti, Oye Local Government, said t 50 farmers in his community were affected, registering losses worth millions of naira and livelihoods as well.
The Owajumo of Omu-Ekiti called on the government as well as the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to urgently come to the aid of the people as the fire has ravaged all agricultural products in the community.