Aug 19, 2009, 6:43 AM
About 30 active rice farmers in Janjangbureh have abandoned their rice fields comprising 115 plots in Moriba in Janjangbureh town, as the hippos intensify their attacks at the rice-fields.
Speaking to our reporter in the Central River Region, the president of the Janjangbureh Rice Growers Association, Muhamed Fatty, stated that over 30 farmers had abandoned their rice fields. This was because hippos continued to interfere with the fields, and now farmers have no hope of stopping the hippos.
According to the desperate farmer, people have been farming in the area for the past 40 years, and have never experienced such rampage.
He noted that the abandoned area is equivalent to nearly 80 hectares, which he said could produce tonnes of paddy rice for family consumption, and other domestic needs.
He said some 30 desperate farmers are looking elsewhere to farm during this rainy season, since they lost the dry season farming.
"We are looking for fields to cultivate for the rainy season, since we lost all hope," he added.
He further pointed out that a lot of money has been spent in the rice fields for ploughing, transporting, for fertilisers, and to settle water bill, all of which have been wasted by the wild animals.
Bunda Jawneh the secretary-general of Janjangbureh Rice G0rowers revealed that some of the farmers who abandoned their fields, have found it difficult to get other fields.
He noted that the most difficult thing is that one must hire a plot at a cost of D300 or in kind two bags of paddy rice and pay, D608 for the water bill, and D250 for a bag of fertiliser.
Aja Gundu Sanno, also a victim, appealed to people who have plots and are not making use of the land to lend them to farmers at little cost, rather than making it difficult for them.
Jambou Ceesay, another victim, also appealed for assistance.