FOROYAA Newspaper (Serrekunda)

16 November 2012

Gambia: Building Bridges to Reclaim Land for Farmers

Some Gambian rice producers have abandoned their rice fields due to their inaccessibility of the rice fields Farmers' Eye has been reliably informed.

In Sara Kunda for example, the rice growers have abandoned their Sanbang perimeter because they said they could not access the fields due to the lack of bridge.

The people of Niamina also told Farmers' Eye that they too could not acess their rice fields due to poor roads and lack of bridge. The same challenge confronts some rice growers in Kuntaur Fula Kunda, Kaur and Nianija.

However, in Youna village, in Kombo North, West Coast Region, a simple concrete bridge, built above the level of seasonal floodwaters, has given farmers access to their rice fields.

In Jarumeh Koto in Sami in the Central River Region, a bridge has been newly constructed to enable the farmers to have access to their rice fields.

According to the IFAD Director for West and Central Africa Division, Ides de Willebois, simple concrete bridges that are built above the level of seasonal floodwaters have given farmers in many communities in The Gambia more land to farm.

For example, he said, in Youna and Jarumeh Koto and elsewhere, everyone can now get to the paddy fields, even in the rainy season, simply by walking over a sturdy bridge built with support from the IFAD-funded Participatory Integrated Watershed Management Project (PIWAMP).

Before, he said, only the strongest swimmers would brave rickety wooden bridges over the fast-flowing muddy water and that this left the majority of farmers cut off from cultivatable land on the other side.

Editors note: Farmers' Eye will approach the Coordinator of the Participatory Integrated Watershed Management Project to shed light on issues regarding their intervention areas and their future plans, since the project is phasing out in 2014.

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