By Maimuna Sey-Jawo
Farmers in Central River Region have expressed to Agriculture minister Omar Jallow and his touring team recently that there has been a sharp increase in the activities of hippos in the region, destroying the rice fields.
According to the farmers the concern is not only the damage to rice but threat to their own lives since hippos are wild animals.
“We cannot sit by as hippos destroy our farms. We want the ministry of agriculture and relevant authorities to help us in arresting the menace,” Lamin Ceesay, a farmer from Kudang told the touring officials.
The farmers want the government to do something about it since Hippos are endangered species protected by wildlife as they don’t want to take the law into their own hands by killing the hippos in self defense.
“We need a solution to this problem as soon as possible because the lives of the people are more important than hippos,” he said.
Aja Sano, women representative of Kudang, said the presence of hippos is scaring women from working on their rice farms.
“I was only able to harvest four bags of rice during the 2016 raining season which is far less that my normal harvest because of the destruction by hippos.” she lamented.
The Alkali of Kaur Mustapha Njie said the hippo invasion has had a negative impact on the production of rice in the region, saying many rice growers get lower yields because hippos usually devour half the fields when they strike.
In response, the minister of Agriculture Omar Amadou Jallow promised to take up their concerns with entire government including the President. “I am going to sit with President Barrow and the minister of environment in order to come up with tangible solution to the problem,” he said, adding that the lives of people clearly should not be threatened by anything.