After Lengthy Dry Spell
By: Kebba AF Touray
Farmers across the country but specifically in the Sandu District of the Upper River Region, can now heave a sigh of relief after the end of their anguish from the long dry spell that lasted weeks.
This dry spell which was longer and drier in Sandu than other Districts in the URR, pushed many farmers to the brink of speculating that this year’s harvest season will be poor, while in other areas, farmers lamented that the long dry spell has thwarted their planting operations by causing an unimaginable delay.
However, the dry spell ended with three heavy downpours of rain that came within a span of three days to revive the already shattered hopes of many farmers. Foroyaa can report that many water catchment areas are almost full, and this brings good news to the farming community. This shows that the water penetration of the soil has reach the right level for plants to survive for the next weeks.
The smiling face of Alieu Jallow, a farmer from Demba Wandu, in Sandu District is testimony of the joy within the farming community. According to Alieu, they have also received their fair share of the downpours from the Almighty, including a very heavy one that came on Sunday, reviving all their lost hopes of registering a successful planting season this year.
“Prior to the rains, our crops started to wilt due to the dry spell and hot sun. But with the last rains, the crops are now in a good state more than before, and if it continues like this by the Grace of the Almighty, we will expect a very good harvest, even though half of my three hectare maize farm did not germinate due to the long dry spell,” Alieu said; that he is now re-sowing his farmland again with high hopes and lots of prayers that this time around, the sown crops will germinate properly and ultimately a good harvest will be realised.
Ms. Marang Sawaneh, a female farmer in Sandu Kerewan, also told this reporter that the fears they anticipated during the dry spell, has been put to rest with the heavy downpours of rain the received recently. According to Marang, now that the skies have open up to heavy downpours coupled with a good water penetration of the soil, hopes of a better harvest have been rekindled with the farming community.
“Farming is all that we know to survive because our farms are our bread baskets. For this reason, I want to appeal to the Government to help provide us with a better price for our groundnut, so that during the marketing season of the product, we will be encouraged to sell our nuts to the Seccos,” she appealed.
Famara Ceesay, another farmer and native of Sami Karantaba, informed this medium that due to the dry spell, he was compelled to halt sowing on his farm with the hope that when the rain eventually comes, he will proceed with the rest of his farming activities.
“The dry spell has delayed my sowing activities. I have four different farms to cultivate, but I had to sit and wait for the rains to come, because sowing during dry periods amounts to throwing my seeds in vain. Now that the rains have started coming, I will continue to sow the remaining three farms,” he said.
Lamin Camara from Koina village explained that apart from the dry spell, the major factor confronting farmers is the high price of fertilizer. He therefore appealed for the Government to further review the price to make it affordable to farmers.
Mariatou Jabbi of Banni village in Wuli West confirmed to this reporter similar developments as narrated above, adding that despite the delay in sowing, they are now relieved from the long drought and are hopeful that their farming activities will bear fruit in the end.
She however tasked the Government to ensure that deforestation is reduced drastically; that there should be a rule for anyone who cuts down a dry tree, to plant a tree as replacement.
Foroyaa is monitoring the 2022 rainy season, and will continue to engage farmers as issues regarding their farming activities unfold.