11 November 2012

Nigeria: Flood - Minister Dispels Fears of Famine

Photo: Emmanuel Gbemudu/IRIN
Women with a dug-out canoe in front of their flooded homes in Toru-Orua in Sagbama.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, says crop loss resulting from the recent flood that affected many parts of the country is too infinitesimal to cause a food shortage.

Adesina told an emergency meeting of states commissioners for agriculture on the national flood recovery production programme in Abuja yesterday that only about one per cent of the country's total cultivated area was lost to the floods. He said this was calculated from the result gotten from the satellite imagery and remote sensing data of the International Water Management Institute, the world's leading centre for water management and flood issues, which was engaged by the federal government.

The minister said government was determined to know "the extent of the flood; the extent of the inundation and how soon the flood water will recede for us to carefully plan our post-flood food production strategy."

Expatiating on the method applied to reach conclusions on the estimated crop loss, Adesina said, "They also used satellite images to measure crop land under inundation to determine crop loss estimates.

"These satellites, remote sensing and vegetation data are the most rigorous and reliable ways to determine extent of flooding and crop losses. They showed that there is a big divergence between the areas flooded and crop loss.

"Even at the peak flood period of October 12-13, which one would expect maximum crop loss, their estimates showed that the total flooded area was 1.4 million hectares. The estimated area for crop loss was 467,000 hectares.

"Nigeria's total cultivated area under crops is 40 million hectares of land. That means that the estimated crop loss was 1.17% of the total cultivated crop area in Nigeria.

"Let us look at production loss. Even if we assumed an average yield of 2.5 tons per hectare, it means that the estimated crop loss would be about only 1.2 million metric tons of production loss." Adesina disclosed that a breakdown of the satellite imagery and remote sensing analysis, based on vegetation data, showed that 12 states were worst affected by the flood, with Taraba having a total of 256,800 hectares of flooded area, with an estimated crop loss of 106,400 hectares.

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