Farmers count losses as Aloa dam submerges farmlands in Borno

Rice farmers in Borno on Tuesday recounted ordeals as hectares of rice field were washed away by the released of excess water from the Aloa Dam, which submerged their farmlands.
Some of the affected farmers at Zabalmari rice plantation in Jere Local Government Area of the state in separate interviews told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that they are still counting their losses and trying to come to terms with the situation.
The farmers called on the state Ministry of Water Resources to suspend release of excess water from the dam to enable them salvage what is left and guide against further losses.
Alhaji Abubakar Umar, a rice grower, said that he had planted in his 30-hectares rice field in the past two weeks, lamenting that water from the river submerged the field, making it difficult for the seeds to germinate.
Umar said he had spent so much on farm clearing, tillaging and planting in the cropping season.
“As you can see, my entire farm and adjourning farmlands were submerged by water following released of excess water from the Aloa Dam.
“We witnessed dry spell for some days after planting and it delayed the germinating process.
“Water from the river submerged the farmlands due to the release of excess water from the dam.
“We are apprehensive of losing our investments because the seeds cannot germinate in a flooded field,” Umar lamented.
Another farmer, Sama’ila Abdulmumini, who corroborated Umar, said that his 35 hectares rice farm and other crops, planted in low land areas were also submerged by the water.
Abdulmimini noted that the trend had forced farmers to relocate and plant on high level ground lands in far distant areas with fear of attacks by Boko Haram insurgents.
Alhaji Hassan Muhammad, the Chairman Rice Processors and Sellers Association in Jere, called on the authorities at all levels of government to assist the affected farmers to ameliorate their suffering and urged the ministry to avert indiscriminate of releasing of water in the area.
He also urged government to enhance distribution of fertiliser and other farm inputs to farmers to boost food production and achieve national food insecurity
Muhammad alleged that farmers were not benefiting from the inputs distributed by the state government, adding that they were sourcing the implements at exorbitant rates.
He stressed that timely distribution of fertiliser to farmers would not only boost food production but improve on the revenue base of the state government and the country at large.
“A medium bag of rice seeds is sold at N15, 000. We pay N7, 500 for tractor services per hectare and N4, 000 for ox-plough per hectare.
“Workers that we engage in various farm activities are being paid N500 and they work for four hours daily,’’ he said.
Muhammad said many farmers still depend on hand tools such as hoes and cutlasses for farming which is very tedious, stressful, time consuming and inefficient.
He said to achieve self-sufficiency in food production agriculture must be modernised by making mechanised farming equipment available and affordable. 

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