More that 11,000 hectares of rice farms that were almost to be harvested in Bahi District have been destroyed following heavy rains in neighbouring countrieds.
The affected farms include those in Bahi Makulu, Bahi Sokoni, Nagulo Bahi and Matajira rice schemes while some farmers are forced to harvest the crop by means of canoes.
In the circumstances, the farmers have urged the government to talk to financial institutions to provide them with loans to reschedule repayments due to losses they had incurred.
Bahi District Commissioner Mwanahamisi Munkunda had to travel more than 20 kms by car, motorcycle and canoe to inspect the effects of the floods.
Speaking to the farmers from the Bahi Makulku scheme, DC Munkunda said the area’s economy depends on rice and measures should be taken to addressed the challenges to avert or mitigate the famine threat.
“During this period in the past we used to see many vehicles coming to transport the rice from Bahi, and Bahi Makulu scheme was producing bumper crop, saying it will now take three to five years for the cultivation of rice..
She said as of now they are discussing with experts to see how the floodwaters for growing other crops such as onions and
Vegetables. She promised farmers that she will discuss with banks to reschedule the loans.
“We have to get a list of farmers and the amount of loans each received, there are others who took loans from private individuals, I urge them not to bother the farms as they have seen for themselves the situation,” she said.
Earlier, the chairman of Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Society (AMCOS) for Bahi Mukulu Hillary Ndugai said Bahi Mukulu scheme with 9,000 acres is the largest but has been affected by floodwaters from Bubu river whose sources are Manyara and Arusha regions.
He said as of now instead of harvesting rice, people are engaged in fishing for incomes generation.
Presenting his report to the DC, Bahi village executive officer Lightness Swai said in the 2019/20 season farmers cultivated 9,000 acres of rice, but as by January this year floodwater had increased and submerged all the rice farms.
Mpamatwa ward Councilor Sosthenes Mpandu said in the last season farmers incurred losses due to inadequate rainfall.