Rice growers in Borno state expressed concern on Tuesday about the excess water released from the Alao dam in Borno.
Some of the affected farmers in the Zabalmari rice plantation in the state area of Jere’s local government told the Nigeria News Agency (NAN) that they were counting their losses and trying to reach an agreement with their situation.
Farmers, therefore, asked the State Ministry of Water Resources to suspend the release of excess water, to allow them to rescue what was left and prevent further losses.
Alhaji Abubakar Umar, a rice grower, said he had planted his 30 hectares of farmland in the last two weeks, regretting that the river’s water submerged the fields, making it difficult to germinate the seeds.
Umar said he had spent so much on farm removal, tillage and planting in this growing season. “All my farm and adjacent farmland have been submerged by water, after the release of excess water from the Aloa Dam.
“We had witnessed the drought for a few days after planting and delayed the germination process. “We are worried about losing our investment because the seeds could not germinate in a flooded field,” Umar said.
Another farmer, Sama’ila Abdulmumini, said his 35 hectares of farmland and other crops that were planted in lowland areas were also submerged by water.
Abdulmimini added that development had forced them to relocate and plant on higher altitude lands in distant areas, at the risk of being attacked by insurgents in those areas.
“When the seeds germinate completely, they will survive to maturity and yield in the water, but will wilt in excess of water,” he said.
Alhaji Hassan Muhammad, president of the Association of Rice Processors and Sellers in Jere, asked the authorities of all levels of government to assist affected farmers, as well as urging the ministry to avoid the indiscriminate release of water from the dam .
He also urged the government to improve the distribution of fertilizers and other agricultural inputs to farmers to boost food production and achieve national food insecurity.
According to him, the timely distribution of fertilizers to farmers will not only increase food production by increasing activities, but will also increase income generation for both the government and individuals.
The NAN reports that statistics from the National Statistics Office (NBS) indicated that the contribution of the agricultural sector to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 1960 to 1970 was 55.8 percent.
However, he indicated that from 2007 to 2017, GDP had fallen to 24.7 percent.