A Stitch in Time Saves Nine
Monday, May 21, 2012
With the volume of rains that dropped on Friday May 18, there is little room to doubt that the rainy season has started. Observers would quite agree that this year’s rains come a bit early, compared to the previous years in which first rains drop in June or July. This is an indication that the rainfall patterns in this part of the world have become increasingly erratic and unpredictable.
Whether this results from climate change or not, our climatologists and people in related fields – public and private - have a task at hand. They should get to work, study the patterns, make recommendations and give accurate information to the public on, for instance, why rains drop in March instead of June or July this year. What is the volume of rains expected this year? What types of crops are advisable to grow?
The availability of such information, if accurate and timely, will be vital to the enhancement of farming in the country. Going round the country by this time of the year, one could notice that the pre-season farming activities such as clearing of farms are well underway. But how prepared are the farmers for this year’s cropping season?
The severe crop failure that hit our farming community, triggering acute food shortage, a crisis that was induced by inadequate rains last year, virtually spared any farmer. This sordid situation leaves our farmers without adequate food stock, let alone banking seeds for this year’s cropping season. As if that is not enough, it leads to the skyrocketing of the prices of basic commodities.
It is however heart-warming to see that ever since the government of The Gambia declared a state of emergency, calling for aid, flood gates of donation have opened. There continue to be donations from Gambians and non-Gambians alike, coming in various forms – cash and kind. These gestures are being received by the Office of the Vice President, which serves as the seat of national disaster governing council.
Already, according to a recent local newspaper report, some form of support have been extended to some local communities. It is however important to note that following the first rains, the government should not waste any time in making the seeds, fertilizers and other farming materials available to the farmers.
To a great extent, success or otherwise of this year’s cropping season will depend on such interventions, particularly by the government, because the farmers lack the muscle to move on. Failure to rush to the farmers’ aid, will result in devastating consequences, which we are all aware of. Therefore, a stitch in time saves nine.