*Says enormous flood, threat to food security
*Recommends dry season production of staple crops
By; SANI ALIYU, Zaria
Based on the findings of 2022 flooding assessment, an estimated sum of N700 billion was lost due to flood in Nigeria.
This was contained in an assessment of 2022 flooding in Nigeria and implications on agriculture, conducted by the National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS/ABU)Zaria.
“The 2022 flood in Nigeria was caused mainly by heavy precipitation, ill-managed run-offs and unregulated river flow, especially from River Benue,” the assessment said.
It showed that the 2022 flooding damaged crops, washed farmlands and destroyed livestock and fish resources.
“The enormous flood is a potential threat to food security.
“Generally, the flood disaster in Nigeria in 2022 had been the most devastating one since 2012,” the report said.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) reported on November 11, 2022, that 4,449,533 persons were affected by the flood, while 2,430,445 persons were internally displaced.
This situation necessitated some form of humanitarian intervention for the assistance of the affected persons.
The assessment recommended that dry season production of staple crops be promoted across the country in both the formal and informal irrigation schemes to bridge the imminent food supply gap.
“Also Irrigation facilities such as tube wells, hand pumps, and early maturing seed varieties should be provided to farmers.
“NAERLS in collaboration with State ADPs, FDAE, FDA should be funded to provide technical support to the farmers,” it suggested.
The report advised the Federal Ministry of Water Resources to urgently consider building at least one dam on Benue River for flow regulation.
According to the assessment, the long-proposed Dasin Hausa Dam in Fufore LGA of Adamawa State will serve as a buffer for the excess flow from Ladgo Dam in Cameroon.
“River Basin Development Authorities should be mobilized and facilitated to undertake river training and desilting of major rivers within their catchment, improve the integrity of the banks and streamline the courses for improved handling capacities and freer flows.
“Promotion of climate-smart agricultural practices through upgrading Flood Early Warning Systems (FEWS), sensitization and education of farmers.
“NiMET, NIHSA should be supported for improved data collection and analysis, while NAERLS, FDAE and FDA be funded for sensitization and dissemination of flood early warning systems.
“National Agricultural Research Institutes should be charged and supported to breed and promote climate-resilient (drought-tolerant, flood resistant, and early maturing) crop varieties” it further advised.
The NAERLS assessment insisted that improving run-off management through the provision of erosion control measures in towns and villages and construction of underground water harvesting reservoirs within the catchment of rivers and large streams, are further solutions to the problem of flooding.