The Commissioner for Agriculture in Plateau, Mrs Linda Barau, has called on donor agencies to support the state to avert flood disaster and boost agriculture.
Barau made the call at an assessment tour of the flood prone areas in communities of Shimankar and Kalong in Shendam Local Government areas of the state on Sunday.
The commissioner, who also solicited the support of the Federal Government and the non-governmental organisations said that the state couldn’t manage the situation alone.
“The Plateau Government does not have the capacity to address flood caused by the expansion of the Kalong River due to its dwindling resources.
“The state cannot handle it alone taking into cognisance the magnitude and technicalities involved to address the flood and the dwindling resources in the state.
“The flood whose major source is the Kalong River especially during the rainy season has encroached village settlements in the areas, thus the risk of wiping them off.
“The flood had washed the farmland of those communities and lives have been lost in the process so we really cannot do this alone we need support from relevant authorities,’’ she said
The commissioner, however, told the communities that her team, which included the State Water Board and officials of the Fadama III Project, were there to assess the affected areas.
She said that the officials were there to find temporary modalities to addressing flooding before a permanent measure would be taken.
According to her, 600 hectares of land are at risk of being eroded by the flood.
“If the land is cultivated, it will not only boost food production but such farm produce can be exported for more economic benefits,’’ she said.
Also speaking, Mr Gideon Dadam, the Coordinator, Fadama III project in the state, said the tour was also to assess the level of damage done by the Kalong River in Shimankar.
Dadam said they were there to assess the level of damage done by the river in the area, which was chosen for the Fadama project III.
He said project targeted the cultivation of rice in 200 hectares of land in the area.
“The farmland destroyed will distort the project with the target of giving one hectare to a farmer.
“The farmers lost more than N200 million worth of rice in 2014, if the river is not checked; it will defeat the aim of the project,’’ the coordinator said.
Meanwhile, a farmer in the community, Mr Tobias Kwanmen, said the flood had destroyed their farmlands and so many crops such as rice, banana, sugarcane and guinea corn had been washed away.
Kwanmen said they had lost some members of the community in the process of crossing the Kalong River using local canoes.
He said diverting the River Kalong to its original source seems impossible but would help in forestalling subsequent flood disasters.
The farmer, however, called on the government to help farmers reduced the hardship faced by the flood.