Pest, disease invasion cause low agricultural production

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Ousman Manneh, a member of Evergreen Farm in Kombo East village of Mandinaba said invasion of pest and disease like nematodes, fungi diseases, and fruit flies on their farm has been causing low harvest than targeted, saying this has been posing a hard challenge to them.

With a farm of five hectares stretch, Mr. Manneh said he and his two brothers started the enterprise some seven years ago with the concept to create self-employment and to contribute to the country’s food self-sufficiency drive in term of vegetable and fruit production.

“However, we use locally made insecticides with lime solution as a protection mechanism which do not necessarily stop the pest and disease but reduce the damage on the farm,” Mr. Manneh said.

According to him, he was motivated to go into farming after he completed his senior secondary school, due to limited job opportunities in the country. “To get a job during those days was very difficult.”

Mr. Manneh said some of the other constraints they are facing as challenge in maintaining the farm include inadequate availability of water supply, storage facility and transportation, saying they are doing year-around farming. “We farm all year-round and we grow basic vegetable like carrot, tomato, onion, hot paper and cabbage.”

He said he and his brothers decided to venture into farming to create jobs for themselves and opportunities for other young people in the community after succeeding. “We want to be also serving as an example for those who would like to venture into farming.”

According to him, they are targeting to bring an expert to the farm but they hardly have a good agronomist who can offer voluntary services, saying they have limited resources to hire the services of one.

Mr. Manneh said they were once supported by the NEMA project with about 45% marching grant. “Our doors are open for donors and partners because this farm is not only benefiting us but the entire community and the country.”

He said since they are in to production, they want to complete the circle like processing, preservation and storage and increase water supply because access becomes hard during pick period of the dry season which pose another challenge to them.

According to him, they have employed three staff and others as contractors on daily bases and they are paid according to the agreement per day or week. “Our plan is to expand the farm in the next five years in which we will venture in to other areas like poultry and animal husbandry.”

He said they have already started aquaculture with tilapia as a start-up but said they will be glad if they can have coaching or training from any NGO or government organisation to build their capacities in those areas. “Last year alone, we made a production of 8 tons of onion and cassava and good production in other vegetable like tomato, hot pepper and carrot.”

Author: Seedy Darboe