Abdoulie G. Dibba
Following the publication of the negative impact of the unseasonal rains in this year’s cropping season, this columnist visited North Bank Region and was reliably informed that the unseasonal rain in this cropping season has not only impacted negatively on upland rice but also on early millet and maize.
Sambou Dampha, the President of the North Bank Region Nerica rice growers Association, revealed that upland rice has performed badly in his region as well as early millet, Coos and Maize.
According to Mr Dampha, he has toured the whole of his region as well as Lower River and Central River and discovered that the rains were erratic this year and this has impacted negatively on rice and other crops.
Dampha noted that there will be low harvest in his region because of the impact of the unseasonal rain and called on Government through the Ministry of Agriculture to assist them with irrigation facilities to cultivate crops all year round with a view to reducing the importation of food items into the country.
“Our major constraint in ensuring food self-sufficiency in this country is water, if water is under our control, we could produce all year round thus reducing food importation in this country,” stated Sambou Dampha.
Asked whether the low harvest this year will not impact negatively on the next cropping season, Sambou indicated that when he saw the pattern of the rain, he advised the farmers to keep their seeds for the next cropping season which was adhered to by some farmers.
However, he said they are banking on the Government to assist them with seeds in the next cropping season.
Asked about the impact of the low harvest relating to the duration their food stock usually serve them, Mr Dampha indicated that the low harvest would drastically reduce the duration their food stock used to serve them and therefore calls on Government and Non-governmental Organizations to come to their aid.