Speaking in exclusive interviews with The Standard, they stated the need for intervention to clear parts of their farms that have been abandoned due to “severe weed encroachment”.
Neneh Bah, a gardener at Kunkudala in Old Jeshwang said: “This place used to be a major rice growing area but due to the encroachment of grass and weed, some parts had to be abandoned. There used to be rice fields all around but grass has made our fields inaccessible and reduced the number of fields a person can cultivate. Some of the farmers can only cultivate just one or two and the huge swathes that have been lost to grass have now become hiding places for crocodiles. Also, birds use these grasses to lodge and destroy the rice fields making a huge dent on our harvest.
“The level of water in our rice fields is a concern to us this planting season. We are yet to clear our fields not knowing what will happen in the days to come and still we are watering our rice nurseries praying for the rains to come. We are in support of President Jammeh’s rice self-sufficiency initiative and this has been factored in our efforts as seasonal farmers in rice cultivation. We want help to clear and expand our Kukudala farolu because this will help us reclaim our fields that have been lost due to grass.”
Also speaking, Nyima Jadama of Kachacko faro stated: “We are still watering our gardens waiting for the rains to come in sufficient amounts. I am praying for the rains. I am urging pig owners to control their pigs. Last season I cultivated three farolu but could only harvest two because pigs destroyed the other one. The salt water coming into our rice field is also a great concern as we are losing significant cultivated lands”.]]>