Somali farmers in Gedo lose livelihoods to Juba river floods

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(ERGO) – “I had grown different vegetables that I was going to harvest in November and sell in the town, but God’s plan has taken place,” said Balash Nunow, a farmer in southern Somalia’s Gedo region, who has been left counting his losses after floods destroyed his farm.

“This farm has been the lifeline of my family for the last 29 years. Our situation is bad, we have nothing in the store,” said Balash, 53, whose family is among the 7,000 or so families in Bardhere district, who lost everything when the river Juba burst its banks after heavy rainfall.

According to Bardhere Farmers Association, 2,221 farms in 53 villages in Bardhere were destroyed in the floods that struck in mid-October. The association estimates the local farmers lost crops worth a total of $975,000, including bananas, pumpkin, mangoes, lemons, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, kale, parsley, pepper, watermelon, beans, maize, and sesame.

Balash, from Kukato village, 21 km east of Bardhere, saw his entire 10 hectares flooded. He is now worried about how he will manage to repay the $1,200 he borrowed from a local trader to invest in his farm.

Balash and his two wives with 14 children are currently living with relatives in Bardhere town.

Another farmer, Abdirahman Haji Mohamed, 60, lived in Marda village nine km north of Bardhere, where his crops worth $1,500 on a 15-hectare farm was swept away along with his irrigation water pump.

“I was expecting a good harvest and was planning to sell it. I had planned to pay back my debt and reinvest the rest in the farm, but unfortunately, the river broke its banks and caused heavy floods,” said Abdirahman, who grew mainly vegetables.

Abdirahman had been in farming for 43 years. He said he only knows farming and has no other skill to feed his family of 13 members, who are staying with a relative in the town.

“This farm was my livelihood; it was everything to me. I was comfortable with what I got from my farm,” he said.

 

 

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