By Tabora Bojang
Central Baddibu NAM, Sulayman Saho, has said that unpredictable rainfall patterns, high cost of fertiliser, the delay in its allocation and government’s failure to effectively communicate to farmers has led to ‘huge losses’ for majority of farmers who experienced low crop yields for the year.
The lawmaker demanded government to declare crop failure and award compensation to affected farmers.
Saho, who recently concluded a tour in Central Baddibu to assess the level of production as the harvesting season begins, said this year’s harvest is “so poor that most of the farmers are now worried about famine.”
“After my assessment I realised that most of the farmers spent a lot on fertiliser, seeds and other farming tools but at the end of the day what they yield is very low. Their expenses are a lot more than their income. The harvests are so poor that farmers will have it difficult to get reserve seeds for the next farming season. In fact, very few farmers are able to get a ton of groundnut or above while most of the groundnuts are not up to good quality, they weigh light. So they ran at serious losses,” NAM Saho said.
He explained that other farmers who grow crops like rice and water melon which depend on the knowledge and prediction of rainfall have also yielded miseries.
“Water melon fields are flooded with water due to high rains and even those who were able to harvest their farms experienced a lot of spoilages due to lack of storage facilities. The rice output is also very low since most rice growers did not cultivate the bantafaros, because there was a lot of water in the swampy areas,” Saho explained.
According to the Baddibu NAM about 55% to 70% of farmers in his constituency are affected. He claimed the government has also failed to provide farmers with timely information about the rainfall patterns.
“Some farmers also lost their donkeys and horses as a result of diseases. So they [farmers] have a very bad experience and the government needs to come to their aid. They should also declare this farming season a failure so that organisations can come to the farmer’s aid. They should also do an assessment to compensate farmers who invested a great deal and who, in the end, got nothing. They have to be compensated, otherwise next year’s productivity will be very poor and very few farmers will turn to the land again.”