With the first dredger ever on the Ezichi River, this milestone allowed the ongoing Anam City project to take on a new trajectory. This is the first time the Ezichi River has been mechanically dredged; currently local source sand from the river manually using a process that is slow and unsafe. The mobile dredging boat will allow increased flexibility for year-round provision of sand at volumes required for the construction of the city project.
The construction of the Anam dredger was initiated in January 201 to augment the scarcity of sand in the region and, specifically at the Anam City site. Before now, the process of bringing sand to the site has been a very difficult task. This is because the only alternate beach is at Otuocha, where a tipper can purchase sand and deliver by road. Otu-ocha is a town 50-kilometer away from Ebenebe Anam. The newly installed dredger at Ezichi River will make sand available for the New City. Construction of the boat has finally come to completion as the dredger has fully commenced operation today.
Dredging is an excavation activity usually carried out underwater with the purpose of gathering up bottom sediments and disposing of them at a different location. This technique is often used to keep waterways navigable. In our case, it is the next in our series of ‘seed businesses’ that can help to generate jobs and funding, as well as providing an immediately local resource (i.e. sand) vital in the construction process. The dredging business is an exciting economic development angle for the Chife Foundation, as it has potential to generate funds that can further support the initiatives underway in Anam.
Dredging is also used as a way to replenish sand on some public beaches, where sand has been lost because of coastal erosion. The process of dredging creates spoils (the excess material), which are carried away from the dredged area. Dredging can also produce materials for land reclamation or other purposes, usually construction-related.
Because dredging involves the removal of accumulated bottom sediments it is also used to maintain or enlarge a navigation channel or for the purposes of waterfront construction, utilities placement and environmental remediation. Anam farmers have indicated that the Ezichi has reduced in size and depth significantly in the past 10 years due to erosion (caused by recent tree cover loss) which has augmented the problem of sedimentation in the Ezichi River. Many will be glad to see the river dredged as it can help to keep it navigable.
There is some concern over the environmental effects of dredging and disposal of dredged material (sometimes contaminated), the increasing unavailability of suitable disposal sites and dredging role in supporting waterborne commerce have combined to raise public interest in dredging and disposal of the material.
We’ve snapped a few pictures of the projects in progress today in Ogwuyo, the first neighborhood in Anam City. Over 100 men and women were employed on site in a big push before rainy season transforms the landscape. Rainy season has already come full force across Nigeria; Lagos in particular is reporting heavy rainfalls and increase flooding risks this month. The Nigerian government predicts an especially heavy rainy-season this year according to this article in the Vanguard. In contrast, Africa Science News reports that East Africa expects an unusually low rainfall year . Research suggests that these inconsistencies may be tied to global climate change.
Anam City will continue to research and prototype of flood resilient design and ecological and green infrastructure approaches that may mitigate impacts of flooding and increased water levels in the area of the Niger River Delta.
On Monday March 12th, 2012 a quarterly meeting of the Umuoba-Anam Development Council (UADC) and Anam Development Company (ADC) was held at Ebenebe. The UADC is an organization created by the Community of Umuoba-Anam to manage the community’s interest in the development at Ebenebe. The Umuoba-Anam community President General (PG), Barrister Nwatah Stan led his group to the secretariat of the ADC.
On arrival at Ebenebe the Council inspected the progress of the New City at the first phase construction site in Ogwuyo. The Brick Factory was in full operation, the Fish Farm, and the Yam Store (built to replace the traditional yam storage system “oba”), and the affordable Houses and other housing project were under construction.
After the site visit, the Chife Foundation team made a detailed presentation of the state of the New City Project to the UADC, showing images of construction drawings and housing plans. The UADC representatives expressed their gratitude on development so far and also encouraged the Chife Foundation team to achieve as much as possible as to follow the 2011 Master Plan and MOU.
Dr. Chife (CEO of ADC and Chife Foundation founder) joined the meeting for closing words, expressing appreciation for the Development Council’s involvement in the ongoing project. He said he is impressed that the community is beginning to see the reality of the New City and understand the potential for the project.
A rendering explaining the innovative features of the new Yam Store
Workers finishing the foundation trenches for the Yam Store
This week our newest project, the Anam Yam Store broke ground in the Ogwuyo neighborhood of Anam City. We are excited to begin this project as it marks a significant advance in the region towards solving the problem of agricultural food preservation. As we have discussed before on this blog, many local farmers and tradesmen are unable to maximize their income because of the short storage life of the yam after harvest; since all farmers in the region are forced to sell their yams at the same time of year, prices are held down. There are few innovations to solve this problem, aside from costly refrigeration or chemical treatment, and no facilities yet exist in the region. The Anam Yam store building was designed use passive strategies to keep the yams at a low temperature and facilitate the movement of air around the produce: the walls are open at the top to optimize ventilation and there are vent-holes (with rodent and insect-proof screens) to introduce cool air and induce convective cooling. Shelving and hangings systems will keep yams off the floor and maximize accessibility and inspectability- in this way traditional and modern storage techniques can be hybridized, tested and compared with each other. The metal roof is on a truss structure that also supports a thatch ceiling – the upper layer provides shade, while the thatch intercepts heat radiated from the metal above; the large space between helps to induce airflow and disperse heat away from the interior.
By holding the yams for longer, we will create an agricultural futures market, whereby produce can be sold during an off-season when prices are highest. The income from this venture can be reinvested into the project and community, as well as helping to raise the standard of living of the farmers. The long term goal is for individual farmers to ‘bank’ their yams in a cooperative store so that they can have a greater benefit from their hard labour. This project is the first of several agricultural storage and processing facilities that are planned for Ogwuyo and Anam City as a whole.
In just a few weeks the structure will be be complete and ready to receive the first yams!
A traditional Igbo method for storing yams in an Oba