Abdoulie G. Dibba
Farmers in Pakaliba, Sunkun and Darsilami in Jarra East District, Lower River Region of the Gambia, informed this reporter that Food Self-sufficiency is threatened in their area as rice fields are devastated by flood.
Rice farmers in these villages voiced their frustration over the wreckage on Sunday 8 November 2015.
According to the rice farmers, due to the flooding into the swamp fields caused by the heavy down pour of rain, their swamp rice that were transplanted, were covered in water.
The women rice growers indicated that due to this experience, they could not transplant the rest of nursery plants as the transplanted ones were covered instantly with water as they transplanted them.
Talking to Foroyaa, Binta Barrow a woman rice grower in the District, said that they were not able to work on their rice fields due to the flood.
She said the rainfall this year is too much and as a result all their fields have become flooded, noting that their fields are lowland compelling running water to flood directly into the fields.
Madam Barrow noted that the flood has impacted negatively on food security not only in their area but in the region as a whole.
A male farmer in his 70s, Sana Darboe, master farmer in Pakaliba, said there has been much rainfall throughout the rainy season.
“This to some is a licence for bumper harvest but the reality is that the crops need more than rain water to perform better,” stated Sana Darboe.
He pointed out that the heavy down pour of rain has not only caused flood to lowland rice but also affected other crops like early millet, maize and groundnut.
“This is so because the rain pattern has made it difficult for the crops to get the required sunlight for survival and growth and therefore perform badly,” he reasoned.
Yields for groundnut and other cereals will be bad this year due to the above stated reasons, he said.
Other farmers who spoke to this reporter endorsed this view and called on the Ministry of Agriculture to conduct an assessment of the situation to prepare for any future crop shortage.