By: Kebba AF Touray
Scores of farmers from Upper River Region South have called on the authorities to ensure timely provision of fertilizer and farming inputs such as viable seeds and farm implements, as they prepare for the 2022 rainy season.
This, as alluded to by the farmers in an interview, will enable them access the fertilizer, on time and with ease, to maximize and boost their agricultural productivity.
Alhagie Danso, a farmer told this reporter that fertilizer is a major input that famers need to boost the productive capabilities of their crops.
“Timely provision will avert the scenario wherein we struggle from all angles in accessing the fertilizer. This sometimes takes time before we access the fertilizer, and in some cases we fail in our quest to get fertilizer”, he said.
Karamba Ceesay, another farmer stressed that the authorities should ensure that fertilizer is provided that commensurate to their demand, and be made affordable to them.
“Sometimes the farmers lack fertilizer not because it is provided, but rather the price that the fertilizer is sold at. When provided at reasonable price, the majority will be able to secure the fertilizer which they would need in their production”, he said.
Mariama Bojang, a farmer and horticulturalist, explained that last year, she purchased her fertilizer at a price of D700 per bag, but stated that it came a bit late than she and her colleagues had anticipated the fertilizer to reach them.
Taking turn on gardening, she called for the need to provide her and colleagues, with fence and water bore holds, to address the problems of water shortage and improper fencing constraints that is confronting them in their overall agricultural aspirations.
“We call on the authorities to provide us with storage and marketing facilities, so that we can utilize the facilities to preserve our produce, and protect them against decay and perish. When they get perished we inure significant amount of money that we spent on the production of those produce”, she decried.
“We appeal to the authorities to provide us with the requisite tools to enhance and undertake our labour work with ease. The agricultural sector has the potential to attain food self-sufficiency, but implements, fertilizer and viable seeds are needed to make the attainment of food self-sufficiency a dream come true”, remarked Isatou Barrow.
Ba Arafang Jabbi( B J) another farmer explained that there is no opportune time to provide fertilizer to the farmers than now, adding that if there will be any form of assisting farmers with fertilizer and tool, the appropriate time is now.
“I know that farmers are preparing to clear their farms and to prepare their seeds, but fertilizer is our major challenge. This is because majority of villages in the Gambia, have been here since time memorial, who have for long been using their farmlands for agricultural purpose”, he said.
He added that the utilization of farmlands, for a long time has depleted the farmlands of essential soil nutrients.
This he said fertilizer is key, in attaining pumper harvest, and therefore fertilizer is really needed to revive the depleted farmlands to their good old days.