We’ll use excess flood water for farmers benefit- HYPPADEC

The Hydroelectric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPPADEC) said it is making plans to use the excess flood waters in rivers and dams to help farmers increase food production in the country.

Alhaji Abubakar Yelwa, Managing Director, HYPPADEC, disclosed this in Minna, during a one day stakeholders meeting on flood mitigation and related issues.

“What we are looking at is to turn the flooding to be an advantage to us, in other words we want to make our farmers to benefit from the excess flood waters we have in our rivers and dams.

“With this in mind, we are going to convene a meeting with the Local Government Councils and the Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development for each HYPPADEC state.

“This is because each community has its peculiarities and a river it can use for its advantages,” he said.

Yelwa, who said that the various communities have their farming system, added that the commission would provide the farmers with high yielding crops/seeds in order to increase food production.

“If a farmer can get good irrigation and high yielding rice seeds that can stay for only three months before harvest, with that you will be able to do your farming activities, harvest and take your crops home,” he said.

He noted that another challenge facing government in relocating people living in flood prone areas was the attitude of the people not wanting to relocate, adapt to change by relocating to safe places.

“Our people who live and fish along the river bank finds it difficult to leave their ancestral land,” he said.

The Managing Director stressed that the critical role of sensitising the people against flooding lies with the traditional leaders and the Local Government Councils because they are closer to the people.

Yelwa said that the meeting was for the communities in the operation areas of HYPPADEC to look at the challenges they would face in the wet season based on the predictions of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) and others and also find a way of mitigating them.

He said that based on the past experiences of flooding, that lives and properties may be lost if nothing was done to mitigate it.

“Therefore we will continue to sensitise ourselves on some basic environmental issues in order to help our environment,” he said.

Similarly, Mrs Zainab Sa’idu, Head of Operations, National Emergency Management Agency, in charge of Niger and Kwara states, urged stakeholders to sensitise their communities on high, moderate and low flood risks.

Sa’idu advised the public to stop dumping refuse on the waterways to prevent flooding.

Also, Dr Daniel Galadima, the state Commissioner of Environment, said that the ministry was encouraging afforestation to ensure a healthy environment in the state.

“The ministry will continue to plant trees in order to mitigate the effect of flooding in Niger state,” he said.

Galadima, who was represented by Dr Lucky Barau, Permanent Secretary of the

ministry, said that the state government was ready to partner HYPPADEC to tackle flooding and other environmental degradation.

Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, Etsu Nupe and Chairman of the state Council of traditional rulers, appealed to HYPPADEC to help in reclaiming lands that have been depleted by erosion across the state.

Abubakar, who was represented by Alhaji Yusuf Nuhu, Emir of Agaie, urged the commission to increase its campaign on flooding in order to save the people from destruction.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the six states where HYPPADEC operates include Niger, Kwara, Kogi, Benue, Kebbi and Plateau.

NAN also reports that HYPPADEC has begun the construction of houses for flood victims at the resettlement centres in Muregi and Ketso in Mokwa and Edati local government areas of the state.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria