By: Alieu Ceesay
Women gardeners in the coastal town of Bakau have returned to their seasonal gardening, courtesy of seeds provided by the Horticultural Technical Services department following a bountiful rice harvest.
As they engage in seasonal activities, these women renewed their appeal to authorities in the country’s Horticultural sector to assist them in harnessing production opportunities for more yield.
Their requests include improved storage facilities, a market with reasonable prices for their produce, boreholes for water supply to tend to vegetables, fertilizers for rapid growth, and other essentials in vegetable production needed to boost the critical value chain.
Aja Sally Njie, a spokesperson for the women gardeners, expressed joy after a successful rice harvest but highlighted challenges, stating, “One of our biggest problems is the high cost of yield, which sometimes exceeds three thousand Dalasi. Some of us with parental responsibilities find it difficult to afford.”
Isatou Ceesay, a seasonal vegetable gardener from Bakau, acknowledged the government’s efforts to enhance the Horticultural sector but called for additional support to ease their burden in vegetable production. She emphasized the importance of a borehole, stating, “Carrying buckets of water from taps to our beds daily is quite challenging.”
During The Alkamba Times’ visit to the Bakau women’s garden along Mile Seven Road, more women were observed carrying buckets of water from wells and taps to their vegetable beds for watering, illustrating their dedication to the new Horticultural season.
Preparing her nursery bed for vegetable production, Lolly Camara highlighted the benefits she derived from gardening, which she said helps to provide meals and fulfill family necessities.
“Through gardening, I have met some of my family’s needs, including school fees and meals for my children.”
Over five hundred women are engaged in gardening activities at the Bakau women’s garden, which is fenced to protect vegetables from domestic and wild animals.
However, other women gardeners along Mile Seven Road spend quality time guarding their unfenced gardens, which are open to stray animals and encroachment.
After harvesting her rice, Binta Daffeh is now preparing for vegetable production. She recounted challenges during harvesting, emphasizing that manual labor significantly slowed her preparation for this year’s gardening season.
“We harvest our rice manually, which greatly slowed my preparations for this year’s vegetable production, but the harvesting was good.” She observed.