Fire has destroyed 10 hectares of a palm oil plantation after rat hunters set bush to fire to smoke out rats.
Daje Palm Oil Farm, located at Sabon-Gida, Langtang South Local Government Area, Plateau State lost more than 4,000 palm trees, 4,000 seedlings for planting this month, as well as 500 cashew and 200 mango trees.
Nandul Durfa, owner of the farm, called the fire “devastating” and blamed rat hunters.
“I have lost hundreds of millions of naira to the inferno.
“Palm trees are resilient; if you water the burnt trees consistently, they could come back to life, but this year’s proceeds are gone.
“There are also new seedlings that we have been treating for the past five years which have been consumed. Each seedling was purchased at N350 and we bought more than 4,000.
“We spend an average of N40,000 every month to treat and maintain the new seedlings. It is very devastating. It is difficult to quantity the financial loss and the psychological trauma,” he said.
“Rat hunters set the bush on fire and it strayed to the farm. Unfortunately, the security guards were not there to put it out.
“The fire was vicious and raged on for hours, aided by the dry leaves and the wind; by the time it was noticed, it had destroyed every part of the farm,” he said.
Durfa appealed to the government to support him to acquire new palm oil seedlings.