Sarjo Camara Singateh
Reports reaching this paper have revealed that farmers in the Wuli East district of the Upper River Region (URR) are suffering from insect invasion on their farms. It is reported that the villages that are affected included Sutukoba, which has more than 200 compounds, Barrow Kunda, Gunjur, Baja Kunda, to name a few.
The farmers in the area explained that they were convinced that the rainy season has started in earnest after they have received several rains. These first rains, they said, led many of them to sow their sorghum or coos. Unfortunately, with a lull in the downpour of the rain, the insects have appeared and started consuming almost everything sown on the ground.
These farmers said if nothing is done to stop the invasion by insects, it will end up having a negative impact on their yields. They said they have again replanted their fields, but warned that if insects continue with the destruction then the season will spell doom for them.
The lack of rain for more than a week now has affected their millet and corn farms.
Lasana Jawneh, a farmer in Sutukoba, said since they had the rains earlier this month, they have decided to sow their crops like millet and maize to capitalise on the first rains so that they could maximise their harvest.
Jawneh said he has planted on a 2 ½ hectares farm which, he said, has all been uprooted by the invading insects. He said it is likely for him to sow millet on his farm.
Asked to describe the insects, he said they look black or dark in colour. He said this issue of insects has sent a wrong signal to them regarding food security.
On whether they have solutions to address the problem of the insects, he said they have none so far but that their neighbours in Senegal have found a solution and are using pesticides to control them. He said it is difficult for them since they have not received adequate information regarding the insects nor advice on the type of appropriate insecticides needed to deal with the situation.
Sheriffdinding Jaiteh, another victim, said he has a three and half hectare farm which were all destroyed by the insects. He said they are now at the mercy of the insects as they have no insecticides to eliminate them. He said they have now put their hopes on the rains as some people are saying that if the rains come in full force the insects would then varnish or reduce.
Alagie Dinding Jaiteh, also of Sutukoba, said they are still crossing their fingers and hoping that a solution will soon be found. He said he is also waiting for rains to come for him to ascertain whether it will make any difference in terms of solving the problem. He called on the authorities to help them find a solution in curbing this insect menace.
“I am waiting for the rains to come so that I can know what next to do, because I don’t want to sow my remaining seeds and then incur losses again,” said Saikou Kebbeh of Wuli Barrow Kunda.
He said at the moment what he has done is to cut leaves and cover the seedlings, but admitted that is not a solution to the problem.
He also called on the authorities to come to their aid with an appropriate and timely solution.