Port-Harcourt - The current flood ravaging many parts of the country is likely to cause food shortage early next year, Dr Prince Mmom, a lecturer at the University of Port Harcourt, said on Wednesday.
Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Port Harcourt, Mmom, of the Department of Geography and Environmental Management, said:‘’ When there is flooding like it is now, the entire farmland is submerged.
``So, whatever the crops, the animals there, are badly damaged and affected in the process.
‘’The import of that is that there will be food shortage because some of these crops are not up to maturity stage before the flood came.
‘’ And even though they have matured, you will find out that you will be harvesting the crops that you are supposed to have harvested over a month later at an instance.’’
Mmom, who is also the Chairman, Nigerian Society of Environment, Rivers State chapter, said that matured crops such as cassava, yam and cocoa yam, could get rotten when the flood receded.
He said that a major challenge to agriculture in the country was storage of produce, noting that some of the affected crops were not up to maturity stage before the flood came.
‘’ Nigerians should brace up for food shortage and hunger early next year. The option is for the country to import food next year in the interim.
‘’ Also, as soon as the flood recedes, cropping should begin immediately so that the crops will be ready for harvesting before the next rainy season.''
On the environment, Mmom noted that the flood had caused pollution as it carried carried clean and unclean materials into the surface water.
‘’ And even underground water will be affected because animals and plants that will decay as a result of the flood, will lead to the release of offensive odour into the atmosphere.’’
He also noted that the flood had killed many plants while the salt water from the ocean had surged into fresh water.
‘’ What this means is that organisms that were hitherto fresh water, cannot survive under this saline water condition.
``The implication is that they will die and so we will have loss of biodiversity.’’
According to him, the flood will have effect on the socio-economic environment because people will lose their employment, there will be hunger and many houses would collapsed, adding: ``Flood is a big nuisance.’’