(ERGO) – Faced by the threat of floods yet again, farmers in Jalalqsi district in central Somalia’s Hiran region are repairing the damaged riverbanks in a bid to protect their farms.
Using locally available materials, a group of 25 farmers have contributed materials such as sandbags, logs, and metal to build up the banks along the Shabelle river where it passes through their land.
They aim to seal off four sections of the banks that have been breached by the floods in the past and are therefore weak. They are paying the costs themselves.
To supplement their own labour, they have hired in an extra 15 workers paid $7 per day.
They told Radio Ergo they have so far filled and put in place 2,000 bags of sand, each costing half a dollar.
Mohamed Yusuf Ahmed, who has been farming in this region for 15 years, explained that their efforts would have limited impact, however, because they lacked the proper equipment and resources needed.
“When the river overflows, these bags of sand can’t hold the floods back,” he said. “Though we will try all we can to keep the water back.”
As a father of seven children, Mohamed’s main source of income is from his farm.
The farmers say they would be able to make a much better job of preventing flood damage if they received financial support.
Mohamed Ibrahim Muse, a farmer, told Radio Ergo that they are spending money on the project from the sales of vegetables they have grown.
He said he made big losses last season and can ill afford to lose again.
“I lost the $2,000 I invested in my farm, hoping to get a profit, after the last floods that occurred in 2016. I was growing pawpaw, beans and many other crops but were all washed away by the floods,” he said.
“We don’t have a government that helps us so we have come together to try to manage the cause of the floods from our own pockets,” he said.