ABAKALIKI- Rice farmers in Ekpaomaka community, Ikwo local government area of Ebonyi State, on Wednesday said they have lost over N50 Million to pests that have continued to destroy their rice farms since 2016.
Ekpaomaka community is notable for rice farming. But farmers in the community are lamenting that the pests no longer allow them produce the one their families could consume, let alone for sale.
They added that their children had all dropped out of school, having lost their source of livelihood to the ravaging pests.
One of the rice farmers, Mr. Okpozu Chukwuma told our Reporter who visited the Community, said pests have made many rice farmers in the area not to continue farming.
“We have vast arable lands for rice cultivation and other crops, but the problem we have is pests. We need insecticides and pesticides because pest have dealt with us, and crops eaten up.”
“Since 2016, pests have continued to eat our rice and we have not been able to get the pesticides that can kill them. Since that year, we have been having low production. This year, we are afraid that pests will attack our rice and that is why we started rice cultivation this year as early as May when we supposed to start in this July. We are very much afraid and we want help to save us from pests this year.”
“Once the pests attack the rice, the leaves will dry off and there will be no fruits on it. Since that 2016 the pests started, we lose not less than N50million every year to pests. We are known for massive rice production but pests have remained our obstacle and it is causing us lots of problem including hunger because we no longer produce what we eat, we have low productivity generally”, he said.
Another farmer, Mrs. Chinyere Andrew said: “Pests has destroyed all our crops. We no longer cultivate rice the way we used to do since pests started destroying our rice. Before pests started destroying our rice farms, we use to get 15 big drums of rice in one plot of land, but we are making only half a drum now.”
“It has affected us badly and we need assistance by way of pesticides that can kill the pests. We are dying of hunger as a result of this situation, we have no money to solve our needs because it is from this rice cultivation that we use and solve our financial problems when we have bumper harvest.”
“All my children; five boys have dropped out of school. I make money through rice cultivation/production. It is from it that I train my children in school but now, they are out of school because no money for them to continue.”
“We need pesticides and fertilizers. Fertilizer is no longer on the reach of the common man. A bag is now N15,000 and most of us cannot afford it.”