Floods: Why southern states should go into dry season farming – Riverine farmer
Rebecca Isagbah, a riverine farmer from Oko-Anala Community in Delta State, has advocated the need for riverine farmers in the southern states of the country to be encouraged to go into dry season farming.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with BusinessDay, in Asaba, she said that government should support the farmers, especially the women, by empowering them with water-pumps, water-machines and waterholes to enable them water and grow the crops this season.
According to her, they should be empowered with improved varieties of seeds of vegetables, fruits, and tubers such as potatoes as well as fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides for effective farming.
The Oxfam 2016 award winner, urged both federal government and southern states’ governments as well as privileged individuals to contribute to food security of the nation by supporting and empowering farmers now they are going back to their communities from the various Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps.
“Dry season farming needs to be invested upon and these poor farmers cannot afford to buy the impliments for watering their crops, hence they need to be supported,” she said, adding that they need finance.
“Things are changing and the rains come as late as May unlike in the past when we used to have rains as early as March. The perennial flooding that comes as a result of overflow of rivers has worsen the situation, causing the riverine communities to suffer great losses.
Read also: Flooding: Nigeria gets IFAD’s $5m for dry season farming
“So, the pattern of farming in the south especially in the riverine communities should change in such a way that they would farm in the dry season and be able to harvest same before the rains and floods are here again in the coming year.
“That means they would have abundance even in their IDPs camps. It’s good they start early so they could harvest early before their communities are submerged again in the rainy season.
“This will contribute to food security in the country because food insecurity is a daint on the image of any nation; it means that the country cannot feed it’s citizens.
“Dry season is generally characterized with scarcity of food items but in the riverine areas, there is 84 percent of water underground. A farmer could take advantage of it to make huge revenue from things like vegetables, fruits, grains and potatoes.
“Where a farmer cannot farm during rainy season, she could during dry season because there are empty dry lands to work on; there are less pests, so the crops and vegetables are not prone to destruction of pests.
“Those who go for maize cultivation will have enough during dry season as there is enough sunshine to dry and process it into cornflour.”
According to her, “There are no disadvantages at all, because people will be looking for fresh fruits and vegetables and there are access to road to transport the produce to the markets.
“So, in the cause of their campaigns for 2023 election, the politicians who go into these poor riverine communities to seek their votes could shift from empowering the youths and men with motorcycles and tricycles should rather pay more attention to women who mostly do farming to feed the families and society, advised.