(Monday, 11 September 2017 Issue)
A team of technicians from various projects under the Ministry of Agriculture headed by the project Director of NEMA, Momodou Gassama, Wednesday conducted a three-day field tour to the affected flood areas in Central River Region North and South.
The team comprises representative from the African Development Bank Mission project, Director FASDEP, representative from the CPCU among other agriculture technicians and the media.
The team first visited the affected site at Jahally Rice Field where they had a discussion with the farmers to ascertain the cause of flood and its impact.
The team later proceeded to Kuntaur in the CRR North where water flood had destroyed many properties and also visited Pacharr Rice Field affected areas.
Speaking at the end of the three-day visit, the team leader, Momodou Gassama of NEMA-Project, said the team was directed by the Minister of Agriculture to have a field visit to the flood victims and sites in CRR South and North to assess the impact of the flood on affected areas.
He said the composition of the team from different sectors of the Ministry of Agriculture, was considered multi-disciplinary with the assignment of carrying out survey of the damages caused by the flood.
He explained that the team was able to visit three main affected areas, both in CRR North and South at Jahally, Pacharr and Kuntaur.
He said during the visit, the team conducted tours around the affected fields, and had some discussion with the community, farmers, and some agriculture workers on the way forward.
He disclosed that during the team interaction with the community or farmers, they realised climate change is a fact and that they need to build the capacity of famers so as to be able to respond to adapt to the hazards of climate change.
Mr Gassama further disclosed that the team noticed that some part of the flood protection dike that was constructed along the tidal irrigation schemes was seriously degraded, as the dikes were constructed many years ago.
According to Mr Gassama, the concerns raised would be communicated to the Minister of Agriculture for address.
He also cited that in the case of Kuntaur, the team noticed that the issues was not flood protection but was a dispute within the community to allow the project to develop the land.
He disclosed that the NEMA project would develop one hundred and ten hectares of tidal irrigation with proper flood protection dikes that would lead to a significant reduction in the dangers of flooding in those areas.
He said due to the urgent need of the flood victims, the Minister of Agriculture has approved a relief package of five hundred bags of rice to the communities of Kuntaur while its affected satellite areas had three hundred bags of rice and both Pacharr and Jahally one hundred bags of rice each.
Also speaking, Modou Sowe, Monitoring and Evaluation specialist at the CPCU, stressed that the objective of the visits was to make an informed assessment of the situation and to carve the way forward for a permanent solution.
He described the visit as very successful and the issues that emerged were very clear, saying that these were natural disasters that are occurred but more importantly, they were also preventable.