Hundreds of irrigation farmers in Misau Local Government Area of Bauchi State have been forced to relocate due to desert encroachment which is affecting their farmlands
The Chairman of the farmers, Shehu Ahmed Abargudu, who disclosed this to North East Trust at his farm in Misau, said that huge white sand has taken over many farmlands at the edge of the Rafin Arewa, a situation that has dislodged hundreds of farmers out of the area to the neighboring towns.
Abargudu said that many of the affected farmers have left Misau because their farms were not yielding much harvest, while others could not even grow anything.
Abargudu explained that the area had been experiencing this for many years now where rain water washes sand from adjoining villages and deposit it into the river in the town clogging the irrigation channels.
“We set up a cooperative organisation, Misau Ajili Cluster Farmers, through which we approach the LGA officials and lay our complaint and they give us an alternative land to do our irrigation farming, but due to the increase in population, we ran short of plots. Many farmers have left Misau for Kalala village while others moved to Darazo LGA,” he said.
He added that the situation has compelled the remaining farmers, especially those who embraced irrigation as their means of livelihood, to sink wells and tube wells in their farms to provide water to the crops.
The chairman also said the farmers faced other challenges, which include lack of good markets to sell their commodities, scarcity of improved seeds and pesticides as well as high price of fertilizers.
These, he added, were discouraging the youths from taking up irrigation farming.
“We have made several efforts to get a market for our farmers in Misau to eliminate the occasional incidents of losses by farmers as results of middle men and other traders who are taking the advantage of the absence of other customers from outside here to underprice our produce,” he said.
An irrigation farmer, Ibrahim Mohammed, said desert encroachment has forced many farmers out of business. He also decried the attitude of local traders towards them.
“Local traders are manipulating the prices of commodities here in Misau. They visit the farms and buy the commodities at their discretion. When you take the commodities to the markets, that is even the worse because traders from other parts of the state and country are not coming to patronise us but we are still working out modalities to tackle the challenges.”
He appealed to the government to take measures to enhance the marketing of agricultural produce to encourage both irrigation and rainy season farming activities.