Abdoulai G. Dibba
Farmers in rural Gambia are growing worries that the pattern of rainfall being experienced during this year’s cropping season, is very similar to that of last year, which ultimately led to poor harvest particularly for cereals and nuts.
According to those farmers who spoke to this reporter, this year’s rains started late in some rural communities and because of its irregularity, compelling them to sow their crops late. One farmer in Lower Baddibou informed this medium, that he sowed his groundnuts during this month of August, due to the nature of this year’s rainfall; that he was worried about the way the rains came during the months of June and July, which compelled him not to sow groundnuts. Other farmers also lamented that they were not able to complete the sowing of their nuts in June and July due to inadequate rainfall.
Sambou Dampha, the president of the North Bank Regional Rice Farmers Association in Jajari in Illiassa District, asserted that since the commencement of this year’s cropping season, the rainfall is not satisfactory for crops to grow normally, and this has affected lowland and upland crops in particularly.
“There is crop failure already in this region, because the majority of the farmers did not sow their groundnuts, due to the trend of the rainfall pattern,” stated Alieu Njie in Upper Saloum.
Njie said even though they were unable to sow their groundnuts, the millet sown, have not performed better, due to the dry spell experienced in July.
Alhagi Ebrima Beyai, Regional representative of the National Farmers’ Platform in the West Coast, indicated that this year’s cropping season, is a failure as far as lowland and upland rice is concerned.
Beyai asserted that due to irregular rainfall, rice nurseries could not have the require moisture for the crops to germinate for proper for transplanting. This he said, has negative impact on both upland and lowland rice production.
An Agronomist who prefers anonymity when contacted, asserted that though the rainfall has been regular in the later part of August, the impact of the dry spell in the month of July has an impact on maize and early millet by stunting their growth. Regarding groundnuts, the Agronomist said those who completed sowing before mid-July, can expect some yields possibly if the rains continue up to the end of September.