Monday, April 19, 2021

Rural Women Gardeners Call for Intervention to Boost Horticultural Production

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By: Kebba AFTouray

Horticultural women gardeners in the provincial settlements of The Gambia have called on the government to intervene and help them with proper fence and adequate water facility in their gardens.

The women gardeners made the appeal on Monday 4th January, 2021, during interviews with this reporter.

According to them, a proper fence and adequate water facility are important necessities that play integral part in their horticultural production, saying without them their horticultural aspirations might be hindered.

Mariama Singhateh, a woman gardener form Wuli East and residing at Briffu village, said despite improvements have been made to tackle water scarcity in the village’s main garden, they are in dire need of a proper and durable fence.

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Singhateh said the fence will protect their produce from animal encroachment, without which, it would render their efforts and resources spent in the venture futile. She said animals encroach their garden and destroy their produce, adding when that happens; they are left with nothing to harvest.

“This is painful and hard to bear because gardening is our second major source of income generation and we spend our fortune and energy on production, and we rely on this to fend for our families, in terms of feeding, paying school fees for our children, medical care and clothing,” she said.

Madam Singhateh said their male counterparts often help them improvise trees to provide fencing for their garden after animals encroach the area

Thus, he thanked the men for assisting them in that front “because without fence we will not make headway in our horticultural production crusade.”

Fatout Kejara, another woman gardener from Wuli West at Banni village, reiterated the need for the relevant authorities to assist them with more seeds to boost their production.

“I want to thank the Ministry of Agriculture for the seeds provided. This has really helped us to continue our production, but more is needed to ensure that some people who did not get their seeds can be opportune to get the required seeds to expand their horticultural activities,” she said.

Kejara said they rely on the sale of the produce to take care of their families and it was a welcoming move for the Ministry of Agriculture to help them with the seeds. But he emphasized that they need more to maximize their production.

Photo: Dampha Kunda Garden

Jaka Dampha, a gardener from Basse Dampha Kunda, appealed to the government to help them with a standard market where they can sell their produce so that they would be able to take care of their families.

“It also enables us provide feeding for our children, which if more is invested in the production, would contribute greatly to the attainment of food self-sufficiency,” she said.

Fatou Jarjue, also a gardener, called on relevant stakeholders to assist them with storage facilities, which they would use to preserve some of their perishable produce, such as tomatoes.

Jarjue said perishable garden produces get dry and perish when exposed to the sun’s heat for some hours while they are being moved from different localities for sale.

“This frustrates our gardening aspirations and it would be a worthwhile move, if the stakeholders can intervene and help us with the requisite storage facilities,” she lamented.

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