Women gardeners in the Lower River Region (LRR) say they are reaping huge financial rewards from their agricultural activities, but lament that inadequate water supply and lack of storage facilities make their work difficult.
The Jarra Pakalinding and Jenio Women Garden has become one of the most successful in the region, generating over one million dalasis (D1 000 000.00) during the last cropping season. This, despite that the village of Pakalinding, which is not too far from the regional capital, Mansakonko, has suffered from flooding over the years, making it sometimes impossible for the women to reach their farms.
Jalima Cham, the garden facilitator revealed that the garden covers five hectares and employs over 200 women. She said the garden has tremendously improved livelihoods in the two villages because whatever is generated is used for the sustenance of families.
She however, complained about the shortage of water, saying the water from the only available borehole contains salt. She further stated that this greatly affects the productivity of the garden.
“We are appealing to the responsible authority to come to our aid so that we can overcome the challenges for the betterment of the communities and the country at large,” she added.
On their part, the women at Jarra Toniataba Women Garden, sponsored by FASDEP, while expressing delight that the garden has been successful and greatly contributed to improving their living standards, also complained of inadequate water supply, saying they have just one borehole which is not enough to serve the five-hectare garden cultivated by over 500 women.
They further stated that they don’t have storage facilities, and as a result suffer post-harvest losses.
Fatou Darboe, the President of the Jarra Toniataba Women Garden, appealed to the Ministry of Agriculture through FASDEP to train women on horticulture so that they can be better equipped to operate their gardens.
“Gambian women are noted for their interest in agriculture. They grow rice, vegetables and market various types of fruits. However, Gambian women have always suffered from very serious financial lapses and lack of markets for their products,” she concluded.