Farmers in Jarra East, have called on Government to address the issue of the migratory birds that is devastating their rice fields, thus escalating their food insecurity.
The farmers made the assertion to this medium during a visit of the area by this reporter on Thursday 7th December 2017, to assess the impact of the migratory birds in the area.
Readers would recall that in the Wednesday 29th Edition of Foroyaa, it was indicated that the assessment done by the Ministry of Agriculture revealed that the country's total agricultural production for the 2017 cropping season is likely to drop from 284, 532 metric tons in 2016 to 184, 913 metric tons in 2017 (35%).
In the same edition, it was stated that the findings of the Ministerial task force revealed that the reduction is attributed to many reasons key among which, are the long dry spell observed in September through November and the heavy floods in major rice growing areas. It was pointed out that farmers in Central River and North Bank Regions lamented that if the threat posed by the migratory birds is not addressed with urgency, the production drop indicated by the findings of the Agricultural task force for the assessment of the 2017 cropping season, would likely increase. This view was shared by farmers in Pakaliba, Dasilami and Barrow Kunda in Jarra east in the Lower River Region of the Gambia.
Sana Darboe alias Master Farmer of Pakaliba village in Jarra East District, intimated that the migratory birds are found in large numbers and if nothing is done to control them, they will certainly escalate food insecurity. Mr Darboe asserted that he cultivated six (6) hectares of rice and because of the devastation caused by the migratory birds, he will have zero harvest in the 2017 cropping season. He called on Government to urgently address the issue of these migratory pests to save the remaining fields.
Ceesay Jambai of Jarra Dasilami village informed this medium that the migratory birds have destroyed her rice fields and that she would harvest nothing this season. She also called on Government to help them.
Other farmers who spoke to this medium such as Mariatou Darboe, Maram Darboe, Jarai Fili, Metanding, Sira Camara, Mama Sarge and Kunyagi sanneh shared the same view but were quick to add that Government and her development partners should do all it takes, to address the threat of the migratory pests and prevent food insecurity.
When the Regional Agricultural Director for LRR was contacted, he confirmed been informed of the migratory birds and said he has reported the matter to his line Department (the Department of Agriculture).