Tuesday, September 27, 2022

North-east farmers count losses as floods ravage 150,000 hectares of farmlands

Some of the farmers said the damage caused by the floods could be estimated at over N30 billion.

• September 19, 2022

Farmers in the North-east have called for urgent intervention to avert hunger as floods ravage over 150,000 hectares of farmlands.

The farmers who expressed concern over the large-scale destruction of produce said the damage caused by the disaster could be estimated at over N30 billion.

According to official data, the floods killed over 100 persons, destroyed hundreds of thousands of hectares of farmlands, displaced thousands, and cut off several roads across Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe and Jigawa states.

In Jigawa, the disaster ravaged 138,442.36 hectares of farmlands, displaced 1,554 farming communities and killed over 90 persons across 22 local government areas of the state.

The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Awwalu Danladi, said the government had constituted an assessment committee examining the extent of damage caused by the disaster.

He listed the affected areas to include Dutse, Birnin Kudu, Kiyawa, Buji, Miga, Jahun, Gwaram, Ringim, Garki and Taura.

Others were Hadejia, Kirikasamma, Guri, Kafinhausa, Auyo, Malammadori, Kaugama, Kazaure, Babura, Roni, Gwiwa and Yankwashi.

He said the committee recommended for the construction of reservoirs/dams and embankments, desilting of waterways, erection of diversion spillway channels and an afforestation programme to control perennial flooding in the state.

Statistics by the Jigawa State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) indicated that the agency, in collaboration with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), distributed food and non-food items to the disaster victims across the state.

One of the affected farmers, Ado Musa, said such support was imperative to enable them to replant and cultivate their farmlands to minimise losses and enhance food security.

In Bauchi State, no fewer than 13 persons lost their lives, and floods across 11 local government areas destroyed thousands of hectares of farmlands.

Ibrahim Kabir, director-general, Bauchi State Environmental Protection Agency (BASEPA), said floods killed three persons and destroyed 1,453 houses and thousands of hectares of farmlands in Zaki and Gamawa LGAs.

He said the flood also cut off access roads in six different locations, a situation which made the movement of farm produce difficult.

Corroborating Mr Kabir, the Director of Planning, Research and Statistics, Bauchi State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Adams Nayola, said that 10 other persons lost their lives in the disaster in eight LGAs of the state.

He said the flood also submerged hectares of farmlands and destroyed hundreds of houses in Jama’are, Giade, Misau, Dambam, Darazo, Kirfi, Itas-Gadau, Shira and Toro.

Similarly, Yobe State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) said the disaster ravaged 3,950 farmlands in nine LGAs across the state.

The acting director-general of the agency, Ibrahim Jalo, said the figure could rise as the damage assessment exercise was still ongoing in the affected communities.

He listed Gujba, Gulani, Jakusko, Potiskum, Fika, Gashua, Geidam, Damaturu and Fune as some of the affected areas.

Jafaru Illehla, programme manager, Bauchi State Agricultural Development Programme (BSADP), has advised farmers to desist from cultivating lands on river banks to avoid crop loss to the flood.

Also, Joseph Husseini, director of technical services, Gombe State Agricultural Development Programme (ADP), also said floods caused a devastating effect on crops that need less water.

Mr Hussaini stressed the need for comprehensive farmer support services to enhance farming skills and access to inputs.

Mohammed Musa, director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) in Gombe State, explained that flood affects various stages of agricultural production.

He listed some of the effects as crops destruction and the outbreak of animal and human diseases.

To buttress earlier opinion, some farmers in Borno urged the government to prioritise irrigation activities to enable them to recoup the losses caused by floods.

Kurami Bulama, a rice grower, said many farmers lost their investments to the disaster this cropping season.

Similarly, Al’Amin Mustafa and Babagana Ali, also rice growers at Zabarmari and Koshebe plantations, said such support would ginger them to produce more.

For his part, Governor Babagana Zulum reiterated his commitment to encouraging agricultural production through irrigation and farmer support services.

“Significant investments have been made in agricultural equipment and machinery to harness this potential but has been dormant due to insurgency which has restricted access to farmland, particularly in the northern part of the state close to Lake Chad.” 


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