EFEECT OF HEAVY RAINFALL ON FARMLANDS IN NIGERIA(CASE STUDY OF ITU LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA

EFEECT OF HEAVY RAINFALL ON FARMLANDS IN NIGERIA(CASE STUDY OF ITU LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA

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                                                                         CHAPTER ONE

                                                                        INTRODUCTION

Heavy rainfall are purely environmental hazards of meteorological phenomena, but very often induced by man’s improper utilization or abuse of the physical environment. Heavy rainfall are among the most dramatic forms interaction between man and its environment. They occur both in the developed or developing are always associated with heavy loses of life and property, misery hardship disease and at times famine. The type of heavy rainfall predominant in the study area is perennial heavy rainfall caused by heavy rainfall and overflow of river banks. Growing plants in wet and poorly drained soil can be quite difficult except for few crops. Heavy rainfall accompanied by heavy rainfall cannot only cause tremendous damage to buildings and homes, but also kill woody and herbaceous plants. The ability for plant roots to tolerated long period of being submerged m heavy rainfall water depends on the period of year the heavy rainfall event occurred, duration of the heavy rainfall event, species sensitivity to heavy rainfall and type of soil the plants grow on (dormant plants are more tolerant to heavy rainfall than actively growing plants). The Itigidi people depend on `Evien` which is a wetland for farming of different crops. Vegetable crops such as potatoes, cabbage, Onions, carrots, lettuce and Amaratus

Were  highly destroyed due to heavy rainfall caused by I. The heavy rainfall have removed significant amount of topsoil large area of farm land. While some parts of the landscape have, lost significant amounts of topsoil both from the sheet erosion as rain falls wet soils. However, the removal of topsoil is always a loss to agricultural productivity as topsoil is the part of the soil horizon with higher level of organic matter and nutrients and generally better structure (USDA, 1993).Excessive moisture in the soil causes oxygen levels in the soil to decrease, thus impeding proper root respiration. Besides the obvious killing of submerged branches and foliage, many plants are intolerant to having their roots submerged for long periods of time. As a result of reduction in oxygen, carbon dioxide, methane hydrogen and nitrogen gas levels around the roots increase suffocate and die (Ayoade, 2008). Toxic compounds such as ethanol and hydrogen sulphide, as well as numerous other harmful compounds, can build up in saturated soils. Photosynthesis is inhibited and plant growth slows or even stops. Nigerians in several parts of the country are lamenting the devastating effect of farmlands caused by heavy rainfalling. It has inundated several farmlands across the country, destroyed property worth millions of naira,and rendered thousands of people, including farmers, w homeless. A reconnaissance survey in some states of the country revealed that heavy rainfall and resultant heavy rainfalling also destroyed agricultural produce running into billions of naira.

The heavy rainfall which occurred in  Itu local government area, Akwa ibom state, recently claimed no life, but left victims with no food to eat, no sleeping material and caused other basic necessities to be inadequate as to meet the populace high demand. Foods are related to climatic change. The damage caused by heavy rainfall depends on the rainfall duration, heights of water level, topography, and use of heavy rainfall plains, defence measures and the awareness of the population likely to be affected by heavy rainfalling (Odermeho, 2008). Heavy rainfalling causes damage to infrastructures such as like roads and bridges in urban areas. Itigidi date recently a devastating heavy rainfall incident which destroyed about 1000 hectares of farmland. Vegetables, yam, cassava, cocoa yam etc were inundated and destroyed. Villagers were also rendered homeless and famine took over the village. Based on this the need for this paper was necessitated.

STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

Farm land erosion poses a very serious set back to farmers in Akwa ibom  state and the extent of the spread and damage have reached an alarming proportion that if efforts are not intensified to remedy the ugly situation, it could cause untold hardship and put the communities in a state of jeopardy. It has been estimated that available arable lands in the states of the southeastern Nigeria have been reduced by 50% as a result of erosion (Braide, 1982). Erosion leads to the pollution and destruction of the environment. Rural water supply from streams is also constantly being polluted by heavy sediment load, thereby adding health hazard to the problem of damage to infrastructure (Akamigbo, 1999). Some of the most ravaging erosion related environmental hazards are found in many parts of the southeast, especially Anambra, Akwa and Imo states (Ofomata, 1985, Akamigbo, 1988 and Ogbukagu, 1986). Many farmlands from which majority of the households earn their livelihood are especially affected; a situation which has led to thigh population pressure on the available land (Onuora, 1985, Ezebube, 1989, and Akamigbo 1999). This condition according to them have inflicted great losses in the production potentials, crop land, crop quality, biodiversity, genetic resources as well as excessive field fragmentations. The economic cost of erosion is very difficult to quantify, but it is definitely very large, Huge sums of money are spent each year repairing damage caused by erosion or reinforcing existing structures and land against erosion, (Akamigbo, 1999). Money that should be used by rural farmers in Akwa ibom state for solving their family problems is spent on erosion control. Erosion control is usually expensive and many efforts have been made by successive governments to control erosion in southeastern Nigeria but not much success have been achieved. This could be attributed to lack of proper understanding of the techniques involved in handling erosion control. Agro-engineering findings indicate that farmers in the rural southeastern Nigeria apply many techniques to conserve soil, control erosion and prevent soil degradation. (Onuoha, 1985 and Ofomata 1982). Young (1989) states that the costs or labour requirements of physical erosion control works necessary to control run-off by such means as bunds and terraces were commonly found to be expensive. ―Conservation farming‖ or ―integrated land use‖, the emerging farming systems approach to environmental conservation, has been practiced by Nigerian farmers for a long time (Okoye, 2001). Young (1989) advocated the use of simple methods of erosion control such as mulching, bunding, and cover cropping, which are within the capacity of the farmers to establish and maintain, and endorses external support for sound traditional farming practices. Despite the awareness of these traditional techniques and management actions of the local farmers to control erosion and protect the environment, they have remained largely under studied, unexplored and neglected especially with regards to the economic evaluation of these indigenous techniques. (Reiji 1990, Eboh 1991). Although, Utazi (2002) carried out an economic study of farmland erosion control practices in Imo state where he identified the different erosion control practices used by farmers in the area and determined the cost benefits of erosion control practices, he failed to describe from the farmers perspective the possible causes of erosion on the farmland as well as determining the socioeconomic factors affecting the farmers use of a particular erosion control practice. Another missing value is the difference in location of the study.

This study therefore aims at addressing these missing links in Akwa ibom state.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

The broad objective of this study was to conduct an economic analysis of farmland erosion control practices in Akwa ibom State. The specific objectives are to;

1. Identify and describe the erosion control practices (or combination of practices) applied by farmers in the area.

2.Determine the net benefit of erosion control practices.

3.Determine the socioeconomic factors affecting the farmer‘s use of a particular erosion control practice.

4.Identify from the farmer‘s perspective the possible causes of erosion and extent of cause on the farmland.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The study will give answers to the following question on the effect of heavy rainfall on farmland in Itu local government area. ;

  1. What is the erosion control practices (or combination of practices) applied by farmers in the area?

 2. What is the net benefit of erosion control practices?

 3. Determine the socioeconomic factors affecting the farmer‘s use of a particular erosion control practice?

 4. What is  the farmer‘s perspective the possible causes of erosion and extent of cause on the farmland?

SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY

The study will provide information to farmers on the net benefits of farmland erosion control practices for increased crop productivity and food security. Measures aimed at controlling farmland erosion will to a large extent save soil fertility, economic trees and crops and farmland from being devastated. The knowledge of the economics of erosion control measures will guide the policy makers in quantifying  the  control  practices  for future planning.

On the other hand, information on the economic analysis of farm land erosion control practice will equip the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),in formulating appropriate environmental related policies in order to ensure environmental sustainability. Achieving certain standards of erosion control, will provide information about the value given to land in the market to erosion control, what will help investment decision.

Finally, other researchers that are interested in searching for solutions of the devastating effect of erosion will be assisted with the information that will be provided in the study. It will invariably provide information on how best to increase the farm land value in other to consequently increase its productivity and alleviate poverty.

SCOPE OF STUDY

The research study area is Itu is located in the south east of Nigeria and is a Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. The Local Government Area occupies a landmass of approximately 606.1 0 square kilometres. It is bounded in the North and North-East by Odukpani in Cross River State and Arochukwu in Abia State, in the West by Ibiono Ibom and Ikono Local Government Areas, in the South and South East by Uyo and Uruan Local Government Areas, respectively


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