“Over 60, 000 farmers had products such as rice, millet, beans, onions, sweet potatoes, pepper, tomatoes and guinea corn destroyed.”
The Chairman of Silame Local Government in Sokoto State, Mani Maishinko, has said that flood has destroyed farm products worth more than N1 billion in the area.
According to him, the affected products were rice, millet, beans, onions, sweet potatoes, pepper, tomatoes and guinea corn, among others.
He said more than 60,000 farmers were affected in Silame, Gande, Gaukai, Katami, Falanje, Jekanadu, Tozo, Daankala, Laimi, Maje, Marafa, Dalmi and Kulalu communities.
“Over 80 per cent of the people of Silame Local Government Area are either farmers or fishermen and they were all affected,” he said. “The incident occurred last Friday when River Rima overflowed its banks and the entire local government area was overwhelmed.”
According to the chairman, the recent flood can be attributed to climate change issues. “There was a devastating flood in September 2010, which led to massive loss of lives, property, farmlands and farm products,” he said. “But this year, it was predicted that there was going to be heavy rainfall at the onset of the rainy season.”
Maishinko, however, said that the rains did not peak earlier as predicted by weather experts. “So, the farmers planted but the rain was not heavy initially and that was what stunted the growth of the farm products,” he said. “They should have been spared if they had grown earlier. That was why they were destroyed when the rain became heavy.”
He said that a committee had been set up to assess the remote and immediate causes of the flood. “Some houses were also destroyed by the flood but the actual number will be ascertained by the committee,” he said.
“The committee will also make recommendations on how to assist the victims as well as how to seek for support for them from the state and federal governments and other sources.”
Meanwhile, the local government has earmarked N 2.5 million for the purchase of 50 canoes for distribution to the affected communities. According to the chairman, the canoes are to aid in the transportation of people and agricultural products across the area.
-By Vincent Ehiabhi