Yussuf Muse Wacays has started planting his farm again in Biyo-Macan, after abandoning the land in October 2017 due to flooding. Those floods four years ago washed away his generator, destroyed 60 lemon and olive trees, and buried the well.
With the two-metre-high, one-metre-deep flood barrier along his farm completed in December, he feels renewed confidence.
“I abandoned the farm because the well was buried by the floods and part of the crops were destroyed. The flooding left us with a lot of damage, but now we have a very good defence structure,” he told Radio Ergo.
Yussuf is busy clearing his farm of flood debris and will plant in February once the well has been rehabilitated by the cooperative. His family of six had to rely on $200 a month sent to him by his sister in Djibouti for the past four years and he looks forward to regaining his independence.
The chairman of Hamdi cooperative, Abdikadir Mohamoud Ahmed, told Radio Ergo that the initiative they are leading will close off flooding points for more than 400 farms in Biyo-Macan, Gogol-Wanag and Huluq villages, around 35 km west of Hargeisa in Gabiley district.
“We have decided to build a barrier for the farms to prevent floods washing into the farms and wells. We have teamed up to put an end to the damage caused by the floods to our crops,” he said.
Abdikadir noted that the flood barriers should be fully constructed before the expected Gu’ rains due in April 2022.
“The biggest challenge was whenever it rained, the floods used to wash away the farm generators and bury the wells along the valley. When the wells are buried, then there is nothing to irrigate the farms, so people used to abandon their farms,” he said.
Abdikadir said 20 farmers have now returned to their abandoned farms since the construction of the flood barrier.
Khadar Nuh Batun, a farmer in Huluq village, said his farm and well were hit three times in a row by flooding. He continued to farm despite the challenges and has been irrigating his farm using water from wells owned by neighbouring farmers for the past four years. The well on his farm is being restored.
Khadar, a father of nine, said his 12-hectare farm was now protected by a wall, which makes him confident of avoiding further flooding during the rainy season.
“My biggest worry during the rainy season was the water flowing from the valley above my farm. I always worried it would flood my farm and destroy the few crops I had planted. But now, I thank God I have nothing to worry about,” he said.