Jun 25, 2008, 7:23 AM
Rice farmers in some parts of the Central River Region are said to have abandoned their rice fields, and may not return there until there is a definitive action to combat the issue of attacks on the fields by hippos.
Hippos recently destroyed over fifty plots of paddy rice fields at the affected areas, which were reportedly transplanted and at the maturity stage. Consequently, the serious damage caused by the hippos has made farmers to suffer a big loss.
Farmers have recently been complaining of hippos causing havoc in their fields, especially whenever they have transplanted or made nursery beds.
Indeed, it is not unusual for farmers in the provinces to have their crops destroyed by hippos and bush pigs, thus threatening the livelihood of humans.
However, since most rice farmers in the country depend on harvested crops to feed their families or cater for other needs, this problem, therefore, calls for urgent intervention.
Farming in The Gambia is such a difficult vocation that the plight of farmers should always be a matter of concern to all.
We appeal to the Department of Parks and Wildlife to ensure that something is done to stop the incessant attacks by hippos in the said area of CRR, where they are making life very difficult for the farming community.
In fact, as many as 30 rice growers recently abandoned their fields, when hippos went on the rampage in the region.
Rice is the staple food in this country, and anything that undermines its production deserves to be addressed with urgency.
The government should intervene in this matter through the appropriate agencies and come up with a solution to this problem.
In our view, whatever the solution is, it must be one that ensures that both humans and hippos are able to co-exist harmoniously in that environment, on the basis of 'live and let live', and that none of the two animals is allowed to endanger the survival of the other.
"Sorrow, the great idealizer"
James Russell Lowell