LRR selects participants to National Farmers’ Conference
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
River Region has selected 20 farmers to represent it at the first ever National
Farmers’ Conference slated for May 29th-30th in the Central Region island town
It is anticipated that the conference,
which will be attended by government officials, farmers and partners in the
area of agriculture development, will avail the farmers the opportunity to
highlight some of their common concerns and means of tackling it.
Against this backdrop, the Media and Publicity Committee set up by the organising committee of the event recently caught up with the regional agricultural director for Lower River Region (LRR), Falalo M. Touray, who confirmed the selection of 20 farmers for the Conference.
“We will have 20 farmer participants from each region that are expected to
bring to the fore the concerns of their colleagues during this maiden event.” Touray
reiterated that his region is well prepared because, as he puts it, farmers are
in the picture and they have met and discussed their issues, and have also
agreed on certain issues to deliver during the conference.
“This 20 farmer participants from LRR were selected by the farmers themselves. I was just guiding them during the selection process to ensure that the right calibers are selected to speak and advocate on behalf of the farmers in LRR. Participants were selected from various farming section from the vegetable sector, livestock, bee keeping, rice growers, cereal growers among others,” he remarked.
Hefurther stated that last year’s erratic rains greatly affected almost all the regions in this country, citing that this even prompted both the Offices of the President and the Vice President to work with major partners like the Department of Agriculture, international agencies such as the Food Agriculture Organisation (FAO), World Food Programme (WFP), amongst others in trying to make the appropriate response and an assessment study, which he indicated was done with its report being already compiled and circulated.
continued: “There are follow-up issues to look at the report and the areas
affected so that coordinated response could be in place as soon as possible. Already
there is a task force at the FAO that is prepared to respond and also efforts
are in place to get appropriate data so that their response are in accordance
with the principle of equity and government best practices in addressing the
issue in communities that are most affected.
However, there are a lot of
factors affecting crop failure and this is two-fold, natural and anthropogenic
activities. Farmers must prepare to plan early, using maturing varieties and
take care of the depleted soil for every protection method and of course cross
husbandry measures that would help but due to the inadequate rainfall affects
the progress of the crops, thus resulting in crop failure, which threatened
Touray pointed out that there is a linkage between climate change and crop failure, adding that climate change is not an independent factor as it is a global concern that requires concerted efforts to address it. He outlined that these are natural calamities that are beyond human control positing that they were instigated by anthropogenic activities such as deforestation, and bush fires among others.
“Even though it is natural, we should put in place prevention mechanisms and
strategies so that we can have good harvests, like planting of trees and other
environmental protection measures. Sometimes we can predict the weather as it
has been done by the Department of Water Resources for the past years
circulating fortnight bulletins about the rainy season. That is always good for
all farmers and there is the need for this bulletin to be accessible to
everybody or to be announced over the radios because it is very useful.
It’s the objective of the government to achieve its desired MDG goals and we will, because we have labour and land available to apply to end food insecurity. In some areas rural farmers got 1.5 ton per hectare, meaning achieving food security is possible. When we talk about food we don’t only limit it to rice production alone, there are varieties of foodstuffs like vegetable and other cash crops,” he explained.
Since the rainy season is fast approaching, Touray called on farmers and extension workers and other stakeholders to prepare adequately before the time to avoid late planting. He then commended all partners that are involved in agriculture such as the NGO community, farmer organisations and community-based organisations, stressing that the Ministry of Agriculture cannot do it alone.
Author: Sheriff Janko