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Climate Adaptation: As Rain Falls, Kano Community Harvests Farm Produce

As part of their adaptation strategies to perennial flooding that destroys their farmlands, residents of Gishiri Wuya, a rural community in Warawa Local Government Area of Kano State, have resorted to a new farming system that allows them to beat recurrent flooding in the area.

Abdurrahim Ado Gishirin Wuya explained that the overflow of water from Tiga and Challawa dams in addition to torrential rainfall causes flooding that destroys their houses and their farms. 

During a visit to the village, WikkiTimes observed that rice farms earlier planted for irrigation were being harvested while new ones for rainy-season farming were being planted.

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Another farmer, Shuaibu Saidu, said dry-season farming provides them with an opportunity to escape risks of rainy-season farming.

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Shuaibu Saidu in his farm

Saidu averred he had already harvested 49 bags of rice while hoping to reap similar numbers from his second farm.

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“Alhamdulillah, we have a bumper harvest this dry season. I opted for irrigation farming due to uncertainty in the rainy season. We are afraid of flooding because floods often destroy us every night here. It is almost equivalent to loss when you plant here in the rainy season. So I chose to heavily farm during the dry season, then I selectively plant in the wet season,” Saidu explained.

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“I have two farms. A few days ago I harvested 49 bags in one farm and here is the second one I am hoping to harvest in a few days,” he said. “During last year’s rainy season, what I lost was very much. On the farm that I used to harvest 40 bags of rice, I got less than a bag.”

Aside from working on their personal farms, labourers extend their services to work on other people’s farms for a fee. A labourer who simply identified as Abdurrahim, he has been working for people on their farms.

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“As you can see, this is irrigation farming that was planted before the rainy season because farming is changing with time,” he said. “We do both rainy and dry season farming here. After this harvest, we will plant the rainy season again.”

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Abdurrahim and his friends harvesting rice

Apart from farmers that majorly resorted to irrigation farming, there are multitudes of villagers, mostly women and girls that also earn a living through sieving rice debris left in the farm to pick the leftover rice.

Malama Baba Jere and her grandchildren are among the many women that move from one harvested farm to another to separate the remaining rice from the chaff and carry home as their food.

“We are filtering through the rice debris to get some remnants. After the farmers harvested, we followed through the heap of debris to collect little rice here and there that they left or that spread into the ground. In a typical day’s work one can have a mudu, half or more. This is how we survive to feed because there is no food and no money,” she told WikkiTimes.

While others are harvesting their rice, many others have since removed theirs while working to plant rainy-season rice despite the apparent risk.    

Mubarak Ibrahim who had earlier harvested his irrigation-powered rice farm noted that they farm rice throughout the year in the community as dry-season farming ends, rainy season farming begins.

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“We are planting rice here as you can see here. We are picking the seeds from the nursery to the farm to plant it.

“Some are harvesting while some are planting. Those that are being harvested have been planted since the dry-season while those being planted now are for the rainy season. 

“Although we are apprehensive about the recurrent flooding, we have resolved to do it as well; though it is risky compared to irrigation. We invest more in irrigation farming and do less in the rainy season due to the fear of flood-induced losses,” he said.

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Mubarak and friends transferring rice seeds from the nursery

He further explained that they cannot completely abandon rainy season farming despite the apparent risk involved due to natural disasters that they have no control over.

Ibrahim Adamu Gishiri Wuya, a resident and farmer in the community noted that they suffer flooding annually with significant consequences on their farming occupation.

He said: “I spent over N100,000 on my farm comprising guinea corn and maize but I ended up with just two mudus. On a good harvest, I used to have 20 bags on that same farm. But here I am again planting for the rainy season. I plan to plant a small plant so that I may lose a little if a flood occurs.”     

For Buhari Muhammad, whose rice has been harvested already, the rainy season provides the opportunity to render his labour to other farmers in need of workers.

“We are labourers here. It is someone’s farm who will pay us after the day’s work. We pluck the seeds and transplant them elsewhere on the farm for a fee,” Buhari narrated.

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“But the problem of rainy season farming is that floods can destroy everything. That is why I reduce rainy season farming and prioritise dry season farming on rice, wheat, maize, pepper and onion,” he said. “Although we spend more on irrigation due to the purchase of fuel it is still preferable to us because we don’t have the challenge of flood.”  

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Some young girls on the farm planting seeds

Sule Hamza, Mai Anguwan Gishiri Wuya said, “almost everyone or every household in this village has had a bad experience of flood in his or her farm last year. It was tragic that we can’t even quantify the loss.  

“We have relayed our complaint to the LGA but we are yet to see anything from them. But with the new state government coming in, we hope we will be considered,” the traditional ruler decried.

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