INTERVIEW : Jubbaland Agriculture Minister describes preparations for the rainy season

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Keydka Ergo

(ERGO) – Ahead of the onset of Gu’season in parts of Somalia, Jubbaland state has embarked on rehabilitation of Jubba river banks to avert flooding as witnessed last year.

Radio Ergo’s reporter in Kismayu, Ahmed Abdi Toronto, askedJubbaland deputy minister for agriculture, Mahdi Muhyadin Mohamed, what measures the government was putting in place ahead of the rains

Mahdi: Our objective is to ensure food security and sufficiency in Jubbaland. To realize this, we encourage farmers to cultivate their farms and plant crops to ensure we have enough food.

Ahmed: What challenges are you facing?

Mahdi: In 2018, the river broke its banks causing heavy floods. Farms were inundated with floods and crops were washed away. All three regions (Lower Jubba, Middle Jubba, and Gedo) were affected by the floods. We are expecting the rains soon but we have put preventative measures in place to avoid a recurrence of what we experienced last year.

Mahdi: What are those measures?

Ahmed: We are working to rehabilitate several areas damaged by the last flooding and to shore up the river banks that often leads to flooding, in accordance with our capacity.

Ahmed: How many areas were affected by last year’s floods?

Mahdi: The floods affected 10sites along the banks of the river. We have begun to repair them and the work is ongoing now.

Ahmed: Which specific areas were affected by the floods last year?

Mahdi: In Kismayu district, the river broke its banks in areas including Bula-gadud and Farwamo villages. In Jamame district, there are four affected banks and hopefully, we will soon repair them. Also inBardhere district, which I visited recently, I saw three places damaged by the floods and we expect them to be repaired soon as well.

Ahmed: How are you making the repairs?

Mahdi: We are using caterpillar tractors and farm tractors. We make heaps of soil and rock mixture to prevent the river from flooding. The project was planned, funded and is being implemented by the ministry of agriculture.

Ahmed: Why is it necessary to take this step at this moment?

Mahdi: When it rains, the river swells with a lot of water and the level of the water rises. We know when the level of water rises beyond six feet it can be termed as flooding. We collaborate with SWALIM (subsidiary of FAO), the ministry exchanges information with the agency on issues related to floods. This season according to the weather forecast, there will be sufficient rainfall. But that may also cause floods, so there might be a possibility that the river breaks its banks like last year if it is not repaired

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