The Ekiti State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) has raised the alarm that there might be shortage of food in the state in the next planting season with the rate at which fire has been ravaging food and cash crops across the 16 local government areas of the state.

The Chairman of the agency, Capt Sunday Adebomi (rtd), said the recent fire incident in the state had affected about nine local governments and destroyed food crops belonging to about 2,400 farmers, which he described as a bad omen for food production and supply.

Adebomi raised the alarm on Monday while inspecting some cocoa, oil palm as well as food and cash crop plantations destroyed by inferno in Omuo and Omu, in Ekiti East and Oye Local Government areas of the state respectively.

He lamented that food and cash crops estimated at about 5,000 hectares were destroyed during the fire disaster, adding that it might affect the development of agriculture in the state.

Adebomi, who noted that the development, if not properly checked, might lead the state to experience famine later in the year, expressed optimism that the present administration in Ekiti State under the leadership of Dr Kayode Fayemi would do everything to bring succour to the farmers.

“Let me give the assurance that the government would always do everything to guarantee the safety of lives and property of farmers in the state. So, don’t panic as government has concluded plans to empower them.

“I admonish our farmers to see the fire incident as a a major challenge for them to do more and embrace mechanized farming, as government would do everything to empower them.

“See this fire disaster as a challenge for you to redouble your efforts and embrace planting of more food crops. This is the best move that would further tackle the imminent food shortage in respect of the fire disaster,” he said.

The SEMA chair explained that arrangement has been concluded by the state government for a total re-engineering of agriculture by involving key policy makers and youths in the developement of the agricultural sector.

Speaking on the destruction, a 75-year-old man and a retired civil servant in Ikota Omuo-Ekiti, Mr. Sunday Fajana, said he lost about five hectares of cocoa and oil palm plantation in the inferno.

He said: “The fire incident, which started at about 9pm, destroyed all what I have laboured for since I retired from the Ekiti civil service. I appeal to government, public spirited individuals to assist me financially.”

The Owajumu of Omu-Ekiti, Oye Local Government, Oba Ogundeji Adeyeye, lamented the incident, which he said has affected about 50 farmers in his community.

The traditional ruler appealed to the government as well as the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to come to the assistance of the people of the community as the fire has destroyed all agricultural products in the community.