By Hatab Nyang
The people of North Bank Region’s (NBR) settlement of Jumansarr in the Upper Baddibu District have complained of transportation and marketing difficulties for the sale of their farm produce particularly pumpkins.
The villagers of Jumansarr made this statement to this reporter on the 14th of September 2019, during their tree planting exercise. Jumansarr is a village well known for pumpkin cultivation and the village harvests tons of this vegetable every year for the past thirty years.
Lamin Jadama alias Lamin Binta Sanneh, is the youth leader in Jumansarr village. According to Lamin, this is the thirtieth year since they started growing pumpkins in the village.
‘‘We start growing pumpkin on the 15 of every May and harvest them in September every year. We dig wells and water them before the coming of the rains,’’ he said; that they will leave the pumpkin farms and cultivate other crops like groundnut, millet, corn etc., during the rains. According to him, the first difficulty with pumpkin cultivation is to bring the produce from the farms when they are ripe.
‘‘The roads to the farms are in very bad conditions. Vehicles cannot reach our farms because the local bridge on the way is not in good condition. We use only horse and donkey carts to reach our farms. Also, after bringing the pumpkins out from the farms, marketing them is our worst nightmare. Those who can afford it, will hire a vehicle at cut throat costs to take the pumpkins to neighboring Senegal to sell at their weekly markets. Sometimes we take some to the Farafenni weekly market where we sell them at very low prices,’’ he said.
Binta Kanyi an old woman in her 70s, told this reporter that she harvested fifty pumpkins from her farm. She showed this reporter her produce which she said she was taking to the weekly market in Farafenni.
‘‘We are farmers, but the sad thing is we do not have good roads for transportation and we do not have a market for our produce,’’ she lamented.
‘‘You can see for yourself how keen we are to farm in this village, but we do not have roads to transport our produce, and also, there are no close markets to sell them,’’ Kanyi concludes.