EFFECT OF HEAVY RAINFALL ON FARMLANDS IN NIGERIA(CASE STUDY OF ITU LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA
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 rain falling. 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 rain falling 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 rain falling (Odermeho, 2008). Heavy rain falling 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).