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Farmers in massive loses as floods sweep away crops, irrigation equipment

Irrigation farmers along the river Tana in Garissa County are counting huge loses running into millions of shillings, after the floods swept away their irrigations engines and submerged their horticultural crops.
Addressing the press after taking a tour of the destruction of the seven acre Banana group farm, the chairman Hassan Issack said that they have been rendered destitute, and they will have to start from ‘square one.’
“We don’t know where to start from. Crops whose value is close to Sh 1million were swept away by the floods and for the past one and half weeks the farm has been submerged in flood waters,” Issack said.
“Mango trees have started drying up and we might lose all the ripe mangoes. Other crops such us tomatoes, water melon were either swept away or are submerged in flood waters and by the time the water subside they will be rotten,” he added.
He said a new diesel generator pump set they received as donation from the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) was swept by floods and efforts to retrieve it has failed.
“We sent in divers to locate the pump set but in vain. The flood waters are even dangerous and we feared that the divers may drown. The river is also infested with crocodiles,” he added.
Guthe Yussuf, a member of the group farm appealed to well wishers to come to their aid by donating irrigation equipment, seeds and funds to enable them restore the irrigation canals that have also been smashed by the raging waters.
“We are back to where we started two years ago. We are left with nothing and we are appealing to the government and other well wishers to come to our aid,” Guthe said.
“We don’t have any livestock to supplement our income. This farm is our only source of livelihood. We can’t provide for our families and the situation may get worse if we don’t restore our farms soon,” she added.
Majority of irrigation farmers are victims of the severe droughts that saw them lose their livestock and decide to try their hand in irrigation farming.
Although the rains have subsided in Garissa County, area County Commissioner, Joshua Chepchieng’ has cautioned irrigation farmers not to start preparing their lands and families who were displaced against going back to their homes, because the rains are still pounding upstream the river Tana and may result in flooding.
“All those who moved out of their homes due to the floods should remain in the camps, while our farmers should wait until we advise them when to go back,” Chepchieng’ said.
The meteorological department forecasted that the current rains pounding several parts of the country that have also resulted in loss of human lives and massive destruction of property will continue until mid, this month.
By Jacob Songok

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