By Fatoumatta K. Jallow
Women gardeners at the garden ‘Naco’ along the Mile 7 in Bakau are lamenting the lack of water and storage facilities as the major challenges facing them in their work.
These problems were revealed when this reporter visited the garden on Wednesday, 20th January, 2015.
Julla Saidy, one of the garden women, who is residing in Old Jeshwang, said she grows cabbages, garden eggs and bitter tomatoes.
“I normally come here every day to water my plots, but the major problems we face here are the lack of adequate water and a storage facility for our produce,” she revealed.
She said most of the wells have dried up and that they often pull their resources together to pay a well digger to sink a new one for them.
“We spend a lot of money to get water for our plants which sometimes die because of inadequate water,” said Mrs. Saidy.
She also explained how the cabbages they produce get spoiled quickly because of the lack of a cold storage facility to preserve them before being sold.
“The lack of storage facility for the cabbages we produce always leads to financial losses, because we are compelled to either sell the produce quickly at unfavourable prices or keep them to get spoilt,” she said.
Mariama Demba, a woman gardener from Bakau, also confirmed the problem of adequate water and storage as the two major challenges which need to be addressed to enable them to continue with growing vegetables for both consumption at home and to sell at the market.
“We are really in need of support to have a borehole to address the water problem that we always experience in the garden,” said Mrs. Demba.
Another gardener, Rohey Sonko, harped on the need for a storage facility for their produce which they do not want to sell instantly to avoid saturation and lowering of prices in the market as is being done elsewhere.
“In Senegal women gardeners are supported with storage facilities to keep their vegetables to avoid spoilage and to also help them regulate the supply in the market in order to help producers to have a good price for their produce,” she said.
The women gardeners are therefore calling on the government and other national and international agencies to assist them with a borehole and storage facility.