Some dry-season farmers in Gombe State have expressed concerns over hippopotamus attacks ravaging their farmlands.
The farmers spoke with newsmen in separate interviews on Tuesday at Malleri community, Kwami local government area, Gombe state.
According to them, the incessant hippos’ attacks exposed them to losses.
One of the farmers, Hussaini Malleri said he had been cultivating his farmland for the past 25 years, adding that hippos attacks were a source of concern to the farmers.
He said the animals on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022, ravaged vegetable plantations and rice fields along Dadin-Kowa River.
He said the rampaging animals destroyed many farmlands and exposed farmers to colossal loss.
“We are not happy, hippos are attacking our farmlands. On Thursday over 20 farmers lost Okro and rice plantations to the hippos.
“The animals swept through farmlands; feeding on rice, beans, okro and other vegetables. Considering the high cost of inputs and the incessant hippos’ attack on farmlands, it is difficult for us to make a profit,” he said.
Malleri said the farmers had been reporting the matter to the authorities but to no avail.
“We can’t kill hippos because we love them too, we want them to be restricted to protect our means of livelihoods”.
Also, Abdullahi Mohammed, a rice grower, said that incessant hippos attack had made crop production less attractive in spite of the multitude of youths who engaged in dry season activities.
“Accessing farm inputs is difficult due to exorbitant prices, however, after cultivating your crops, hippos will eat and destroy it.
“It is disheartening that after we lodged several complaints nothing decisive has been done to end the attack.
“I have lost my produce like rice and beans to these animals and no compensation whatsoever.”
Mohammed added that dry season farming is more profitable in view of the high yields per hectare, adding that, “with the incessant hippos’ attack, it is difficult to get good returns on the investment”.
Another farmer, Isa Mohammed, urged the government at all levels to support farmers in the community to encourage irrigation farming and boost food security.
Mohammed said farmers in the community cultivated over 1,000 bags of rice, lamenting that incessant attack by the animals and other challenges impeded production.
For his part, Yusuf Ibrahim said the rampaging animals had forced many youths out of farms due to destruction of the produce.
“Previously; some people from the Gombe metropolis cultivated farmlands and engaged youths in the community but they stopped coming due to hippos-related loses,” he said.
He, therefore, urged the state government and other relevant authorities to adopt proactive measures to address the problem.