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Rivers farmers clamour for anti-bush burning law



Rice farmers at work

Farmers in Rivers State have called on the government to initiate a bill to the  House of Assembly for the enactment of a law prohibiting bush burning in the state.

The farmers, under the auspices of the Association of Farmers and Food Processors, said such a law, when enacted, would help address the menace of bush burning in the state, especially as the dry season was fast approaching.

President of the association, Chisom Dike, made the call while speaking at an event in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

He stated, “As we approach the dry season, we begin to see that there are issues of fire outbreak, and we all have to be cautious about what we do during the dry season, especially for us farmers, who are also severely affected.

“Some of these issues are also caused by farmers, who begin to burn bushes indiscriminately, and sometimes, these fire outbreaks cross over to the next farmer’s farm or the next forest, and this is very hazardous for us.

“Now, bush burning could cause erosion of the soil; it could burn off our vegetation, and it could reduce the fertility of the soil.

“So, we are appealing to the state government to come up with laws, and the local governments to come up with by-laws and also to begin sensitising the communities on the need to avoid indiscriminate bush burning.”

The farmers’ association also called on the Rivers State government to consider bringing back forest guards to ensure the protection of the forest and check the issue of bush burning.

 “In those days, we used to have forest guards all around the place. Assuming we still have some of them around, we are appealing to the state government to deploy forest guards and farm environmentalists to begin to look into the issue of bush burning,” Dike added.