(Peter Okolie, NAN)
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on Saturday inaugurated the final phase of fertiliser distribution to farmers affected by flood in 2018 in Anambra.
The Director-General of NEMA, AVM Muhammadu Muhammed (retd), said at the ceremony in Awka that the intervention was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019, under the Emergency Agricultural Intervention Programme.
Muhammed explained that 4,390 verified farmers in the state were given various farm inputs including seeds/seedlings, knapsack sprayers and agrochemicals in the first and second phases of distribution.
According to him, a total of 50,967 bags of 50kg NPK fertilisers were required after verification for the affected farmers out of which 36,000 bags have been delivered to the state.
Of the figure delivered, he explained that 29,097 bags had been distributed to farmers in six Local Government Areas of Ayamelum, Ihiala, Awka North, Orumba North, Anambra East and Anambra West.
He said that 6,903 bags would be distributed to farmers in Ogbaru local government area, starting from Saturday, while 14,967 remaining bags were being processed and would be delivered soon.
“It is worthy to note that this fertiliser distribution is the final phase of the Federal Government’s assistance to farmers to enable them to recover from the losses suffered in order to alleviate poverty and empower them,” Muhammed stressed.
The director-general expressed concern over recurring incidences of flood which had led to disaster emergency in many states including Anambra.
“The Annual Flood Outlook informed that 102 LGAs in 28 states fall within the highly probable risk areas, while 275 LGAs across the country fall within the moderately probable flood risk areas.
“The remaining 397 local government areas fall within the low probable flood risk areas,” he said.
Muhammed listed some highly probable flood risk areas in the state to include: Ogbaru, Anaocha, Oyi, Onitsha North, Orumba South, Orumba North, Njikoka, Ayamelum and Aguata LGAs.
Other highly probable flood risk areas are Awka South, Anambra East, Anambra West and Dunukofia, Idemilil North, Idemili South, Onitsha South and Awka North local government areas.
“The federal government through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has taken note of this year’s prediction and is working with stakeholders to mitigate the possible effect of such flooding,” he assured.
However, he advised the state government to take proactive and necessary measures to mitigate the issues such as carrying out public enlightenment campaigns and targeting vulnerable communities for evacuation, among others.
In his remarks, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, recalled that the 2018 flood amounted to a humanitarian disaster in about five local government areas of the state.
While commending the federal government for the gesture Chukwulobelu appealed for early release of such interventions and assistance to enable farmers to plant and harvest their crops before the flood occurred.
“It was a huge challenge for the state government but we are glad that in the end the challenge was effectively managed,” he noted.
He expressed surprise at the prediction of flood in some of the local government areas but said the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), had begun sensitisation of people in the riverine areas.
“We have three stages of responses at the level of the SSG office, and as it escalates the Deputy Governor takes over and chairs the bigger group and, at some point, the governor takes over,” he added.