In exclusive interviews with The Standard, the women said they needed such modern agricultural tools as tractors and soil-enriching inputs, even chemicals to fight crop-eating and other destructive pests, among other things.
A representative of the farmers, Fatou Neni Danso told The Standard: “We are lacking a lot of things here which is affecting us on a daily basis such as water, fence, insecticides and seedlings among others. We need help from individuals, government and philanthropists to help us address these issues. Here is where we make our daily living and it helps us to pay our children’s school fees, book bills, uniform and other family needs.
“We have been calling for help but still no response. The insects are also affecting the growth of our vegetable which has adverse impact on the growth of our vegetables. I have been toiling on this garden for twenty years now. I am optimistic that if these constraints are put into consideration we would be able to attain the food self-sufficiency by 2016 which is also part of the government’s agenda.”
Jalamang L Jatta, the village extension promoter and senior agricultural officer while adding his voice to the concern raised by the women, commented: “All what they have said is true. The garden is not properly fenced but I am optimistic that this time the problems they have highlighted would be duly put into consideration. I am aware that the president has intended to help the women with a borehole because he had told me personally. And since the inception of this garden about thirty years ago there has been a lot of development and progress for the women and the village itself. Our aim as agriculturalists is to see the improvement of this garden so as to improve the living standard of the women.”
The Bakau women garden situated along Mile 7 road opposite Radio Gambia was established in 1985 and since then it has improved the life of these women and the village itself despite it not being part of the agricultural intervention site. It has 10.5 hectares with fifty-seven local wells and twenty-one thousand beds and has improved the living standards of the women of Bakau who have been working in the garden for decades since its inception about thirty years despite the challenges they face.]]>