Gambia: Locals Raise Concern Over Poor Road Network, Water Shortage And Electricity

23 September 2021

As President Adama Barrow continues his Meet the People's Tour in the Central River Region (CRR), local dwellers in the region have raised concern over what they described as poor road network, acute water shortages and lack of electricity supply that continue to grip most of the communities in the region.

During a meeting held at Dankunku in CRR, speaker upon speaker all raised concerns over poor road network, lack of clean and potable drinking water among others. Another issue that they also highlighted was the need to have cattle drinking points for their cattle and the provision of gardens for women farmers in the area.

Fatou Kura Ceesay and Bintou Manneh both urged the president to help the women of the area with milling machines and gardens.

"The road starting from Choya village to Dankunku and its surrounding villages is in bad condition. There's also an acute water shortage at Kerr Katim village. We also want the president to help us with a skills center within the area given the fact that the entire Naimina Dankunku doesn't have a weekly market (lumo). We equally want the president to help and fence Sambang Upper Basic School," Binta Manneh added, while urging the youth and women of the area to redouble their unflinching support to the president and his NPP party.

"We didn't have enough fertilisers during this year's rainy season. In fact, if you want to buy fertiliser, you need to go to Farafenni in NBR or other communities that have fertilisers. We also want in the next rainy season for Naimina Dankunku to have a center where fertilisers can be sold," Ganajo Jallow added, while acknowledging that the government did provide enough tractors for the area. However, he was quick to add that the fee attached to having access to the tractors was too much.

Mr. Jallow claimed that the health centre in Dankunku lacks medicines. "Most of the times whenever you visit the health centre, you will be always be referred to the pharmacy due to drug shortage at the health centres. Again, our cattle don't have drinking points in both Naimina East District and Naimina Dankunku respectively."

Responding to some constraints raised by inhabitants of the area, President Barrow claimed that the road starting from Choya to Dankunku will be constructed in 2022. "The road will be my first project in 2022. I can assure you that whatever you lack for the past 50 years of the previous governments, you will surely have it in the Barrow administration. A new health centre will also be constructed in Jesadi," he assured.

If re-elected, he added, the country would register rapid development in his next five years in office, adding that Jarreng in the Naimina East and Dankunku village will all have a tractors, while Penia Mandinka will have a power-tiller

Dongoroba meeting in LRR

In the Dongoroba meeting, the communities of the area also highlighted some challenges confronting them. Top among the constraints were, poor roads, electricity supply and water shortage. Some villages came with banners with inscriptions: "Sibinding village is seeking for help with clean water, milling machines and women's garden among others".

"We don't have electricity starting from Pakaliba to Jallengbereh. Jarra East is among the districts that's facing difficulties in terms of road network. In fact, from Darsilameh to Sinchu Njengundi, the road within these settlements is in a bad situation. We want the government to provide fertilisers to farmers earlier before the rainy season begins," Babucarr Dem said.

Like many other meetings, President Barrow assured them that most of their constraints will be addressed by his government especially on electricity supply, claiming that before 2023, no community in the country will be without electricity.

Visit at Boiram farm

The president and his technocrats on Tuesday morning visited a maize and groundnut farm at Boiram village.

Speaking during the visit, Baboucarr Boye, a farmer in the area, said lack of farm implements is among top issues affecting them. "I cultivate about 40 hectares every year. I use horse carts in cultivating all these hectares of land. Most of the farmers in the area are also complaining about the lack of farm implements."

In response President Barrow said: "The government purchased many tractors and farm implements which were distributed to farmers. What we should do now is to collaborate with the banks so that we could have enough tractors and give it to other farmers that don't have it. This year's rainy season, we brought a lot of fertilisers and the fertilisers came on time."

"We bought some bags of fertilisers at D2000 or more, and we sell them to the farmers at seven hundred dalasis. The government in fact, spent five hundred and twenty four million dalasis in buying fertilisers for farmers this year."

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