June 23, 2016 By Joseph S. Margai
Farmers in Kambia district are proud recipients of 54 metric tons of seed rice from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security.
It could be recalled that most farmers were distracted from their farming activities as a result of the outbreak of the Ebola viral disease in the country two years ago.
Consequently, most of them now rely on the government for support to continue their farming activity.
While the distribution of rice seedlings was done in May this year, Concord Times has been reliably told that some serious pressure is being heaped on officials at the Ministry of Agriculture in Kambia in demand for more rice seedlings.
According to our source, only 30 percent of farmers benefited from the distribution of the seed rice, leaving a large quantity of 70 percent of them yearning for seedlings of our staple crop.
In an interview with Concord Times, District Agriculture Officer (DAO) in Kambia, Umaru Sankoh, confirmed that only 30 percent of farmers benefitted from the just concluded distribution of rice seedlings in the district. He added that at the moment many farmers visit the office in Kambia demanding for their own share of the rice sedlings.
Asked if the seedlings were distributed to farmers on a free basis, the Kambia DAO said the seedlings would be recovered from the farmers after they have harvested their farms. He noted that the type of seedlings distribute was the L.19 Nerica, which grows very fast and is productive on the farm.
Responding to claims that the seedlings were distributed after the planting period, Mr. Sankoh said the claims were misleading because the planting season starts in June every year while the seedlings were distributed in May.
He disclosed that plans were underway by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS) to distribute fertilisers to farmers.
Asked about the current situation between crop growers and cattle herdsmen, he said his office used had received complaints of animals destroying people’s crops and the people in turn pursuing and killing the cattle.
“This situation occurs mostly during the dry season when there is a shortage of grass for the cattle to graze. But during the rainy season, there are lot of grass around so we have not been receiving complaints at all,” he said.