Peanut Farmers Express Concern Over Delay in Rainfall

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By: Momodou Gagigo

Farmers in rural Gambia have expressed growing concern over long rainfall delays for the 2024 cropping season. The delay is casting a shadow over this year’s farming season, with many farmers still unable to plant cash and subsistence crops.

TAT’s recent visit to the communities of Wellingara-Ba and Bodewell in Jarra East District revealed that farmers are limited to cultivating sorghum and millet, which are known for their resilience to drought and heat.

Abdoulie Dem of Bodewell village voiced his concern over the prolonged delay in rainfall, citing climate change and the divine will as the main contributing factors despite the cropping season having already begun.

“Our fields were cleared and ready a long time ago, but the absence of significant rainfall has prevented us from sowing our crops. Unlike last year, when our peanuts were already sprouting, we are now struggling to sustain even our coos crops,” he told this medium.

Dem also appealed to the government for support in the form of fast-germinating seeds to mitigate the impact of the rainfall delay on farmers.

Mod Lamin Ceesay, another farmer from Wellingara-Ba, expressed diminishing optimism as the rainy season progresses without substantial precipitation.

He continued: “Groundnut cultivation is impossible without moist soil. Without it, we risk poor germination and reduced yields.”

Despite the fear and uncertainty among farming communities, some, like Modou Ceesay, are taking a leap of faith by planting peanuts against the odds.

“As farmers reliant on the seasons, we cannot afford to wait idly. We must make the most of even the slightest rainfall,” he stated with a glimpse of hope.

The role of women In agriculture, particularly in horticulture and agribusiness, remains crucial. Yet, only a handful are venturing into commercial farming alongside their male counterparts.

Mbombeh Ceesay, one such woman, has embraced agriculture as a means to financial independence and urges other women to do the same.

“Supporting our husbands in farming is not just about helping them; it is about securing the well-being of our entire families,” she emphasized.

Under the Department of Water Resources and the Department of Agriculture, the meteorological department has advised farmers to commence planting since the first rain for 2024 touched the ground, which is now considered the start of this year’s cropping season.

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