Friday, July 13, 2012

Hunger-Stricken Farmers said: We need seeds and fertilizer

See also....
Drug agency seized 315kgs of cannabis, suspect at large

NAMs warns of possible river transport disaster 

Dirty Streets: 14 businesses fined

Hunger-Stricken Farmers said: We need seeds and fertilizer
The effect of the Sahel drought

 Farmers in Lower Baddibou, North Bank Region and  of Jarra East, Lower River Region have told The Voice newspaper  this year’s farming season is the most difficult they ever lived.

“We lack everything that will make our work easy. Everything that will give us a good harvest - seeds, fertilizer, and even tools,” one farmer said.
“I cannot cultivate all my land because I did not have enough seeds. We were given government subsidized groundnut seeds but even that is very small,” said Mr. Ahamadou Jobe, Torroba village, who was speaking to this paper during a Gambia Red Cross food and fertilizer coupon distribution tohunger-stricken rural farmers.

He added: “If we do not have groundnuts it means we got nothing. We usually sell the proceeds from our groundnut farms to fend for our families.”  

Mr. Jobe noted in a rather helpless tone that the only hope of acquiring fertilizer is the coupons given to us by the Gambia Red Cross Society (GRCS).  “We do not even know if that one will be enough,” he said. 

We are facing another big problem, the lack of farming tools. If we want to eat our harvest for a year round we need to have enough faming tools, seeds and fertilizer without which it will be difficult eradicate hunger in the Gambia, he added. 

According to him, since 1999 his harvest never took his family a year to consume; it only takes seven months or less. We are handicapped by the lack of farm implements, he said. 
For me, I have neither received seeds, food or fertilizer from anyone not even the government. If it were it not for the Red Cross life for my family would have been very difficult, said Mr. Modou Touray of Kerr Ardo village. “But what the Red Cross gave us will not be enough to ensure a bumper harvest at the end of the rainy season.” 

He continued “And if that happens, I think the hunger crisis will continue.” Mr. Touray is hoping that other aid agencies will reach out to them with more seeds and fertilizer as a way of ending hunger in the region.   

We need more materials including seeds and fertilizer, we have a lot of land unused, said Mr. Saidou Dem, a native of Dongoroba village in Jarra East, who specializes on growing millet, maize and groundnut.     

However, the Seyfo (local Chief) of Jarra East, Mr. Ansumana Kanaji said if Gambians follow the footsteps of the president, then Gambia will not import rice into the country in the near future.

The local political head simply said Gambians should pay heed to the president’s back to the land call. 

He commended the Red Cross for what he called a “timely intervention”, saying the fertilizer will be very vital to the farmers in this year’s rainy season.     

Drug agency seized 315kgs of cannabis, suspect at large

Cocaine bust, estimated to worth $1 billion, June 2010, Banjul.
Gambia’s anti-illicit drug agency, the National Drug Enforcement Agency, on June 6, 2012 announced it had seized 315 kilograms of cannabis sativa at Sibanor village, Foni Brefet District, West Coast Region of the Gambia.

The NDEA said the suspect, believed to be a Senegalese could not be caught in the July 2 operation as he fled the scene.

NDEA’s Public Relation Officer, ASP Abdoulie Ceesay, told journalists at a press briefing that the cannabis was seized from a horse cart used by the suspect to transport the illicit drug from the troubled Senegalese region of Cassamance to the other side of the region.

ASP Ceesay said his agents laid an ambush at the Jakoi and Paima River in Foni Berefet, which lasted 6 hours overnight. The suspect only appeared the following day and when the NDEA agents tried to arrest him he managed to escape and fled into the bush.

He said a search was conducted into the bush but he could not be found. Now the NDEA is in possession of the suspected trafficker’s horse cart and 13 bags containing 300 bundles of cannabis. 

“The case is currently under investigation pending the arrest of the suspect,” he said.

In another development, Mr. Ansu Sanyang, 28, a resident of Foni Sumita in the West Coast region is currently being held by the NDEA since July 1, 2012 following a raid at his house.

“Ansu Sanyang’s house was put under thorough search and the officers were able to discovered 24 bundles of cannabis which was concealed in the ceiling. Some quantities of cannabis were also found in a pot hidden under the bed,” ASP Ceesay explains. 

He said the accused is currently helping drug officers in their investigations.

On July 2, Alieu Bah, a resident of Brikama Jeddah was also arrested by the NDEA at his residence following a notice to NDEA that the suspect has travelled to the Southern Senegalese region of Cassamance to collect his cannabis consignment.

ASP Ceesay explained that the NDEA laid an ambush in the outskirts of Jeddah in the early hours of Monday. The suspect showed up at 1am on his bicycle. He was caught with 23 bundles of suspected cannabis.

ASP Ceesay noted the suspect has been charged pending further actions, as he is currently helping the NDEA in their investigations.

According PRO Ceesay, all three suspects have been charged with drug trafficking contrary to section 43 subsections (4e) of The Gambia Drug Control Act and section 33 subsection (1a) of the same Act.

Drug trafficking offences in the Gambia carries a fine of not less than 10 million Dalasis and an imprisonment of not less than 10 years.

NAMs warns of possible river transport disaster

National Assembly Members (NAMs) have warn of a possible river transport disaster involving the worn-out ferries plying the seven miles route between Banjul and Barra on a daily basis. 

They said the ferries (Barra and Johé) are causing a lot of alarm and this might result in a maritime disaster if the necessary actions are not taken.

The four lawmakers’ comments came in the wake of a public outcry over the current state of the ferries plying the Banjul-Barra crossing point, describing the services offered as “poor.” 

During a July 3, 2012 adjournment debate of the 2nd legislative session of the National Assembly, the Member for Upper Niumi, Hon. Mam Cherno Jallow, said the status of the ferries is unacceptable. 

He said urgent necessary mechanisms must to be put in place to end the undesirable situation. He said both ferries got jammed in sea a few days ago, forcing passengers to spend the night on board.

 “People are really scared by the current condition. I have not boarded a canoe for over 25 years but I was forced to do so because both ferries were jammed in the sea and I was on my way to attend a parliament sitting,” Hon Jallow said.  

The Barra Ferry, the oldest still operating is in very bad shape

The situation of the ferries is creating a lot of fear among the people uses the crossing point daily. Anytime I want to cross, I don’t sleep that night, Hon. Ousman Bah, NAM for Sabach Sanjal, said.

“I will call people at the terminal to find out the status of the ferries,” he continued, before calling on the authority responsible for the operation of the ferries to stand on their feet and ensure that the ferries are back in good shape.

When he took his turn, Hon. Ebrima Jammeh, NAM for Foni Bintang, said the money used to buy two new ferries (which have not been in use since July 2011 due to non-existent landing points) should have been used to get two good engines for the two ferries that are currently working. 

The Majority Leader and Member for Serrekunda East, Hon. Fabakary Tombong Jatta, simply said the issue of the Banjul-Barra ferries service is a cross-cutting one. 

The Kanilai Ferry, the newest is also in bad shape
He described the delay in the operation of the newly bought ferries as sabotage, and said that the landing points should have been constructed well before the arrival of the ferries.

The Voice newspaper understands the Kanilai Ferry, being the newest among the old ferries is not also in good shape and had recently been spending three or more hours to cross the 11 kilometers route, something that had taken it 15 minutes when it arrived newly in 2010.  

Dirty Streets: 14 businesses fined

14 business enterprises have been fined D1000 ($33.3) on June 9, 2012 after a Magistrates Court convicted them of littering, a crime committed in the streets of the Kanifing Municipality, a few kilometers from the Gambian capital, Banjul.

Magistrate Modou L.K Bojang, presiding, ruled that each pay a D1000 or their owners face a jail term of one month. The convicts then decided to pay the money than risk going to jail.

They were charged with “discharge of solid waste into the public street”, and when they were arraigned before the lower court, they all pleaded guilty as charged. They were not represented by a counsel. 

They include: Algadir F. Trading, Moribolong Enterprise, Balaji Enterprise, M. N. Enterprise, Aisamala Enterprise, E.M Kay Stores, Mex Ventures, Bhumca Enterprise, Guru Nanak Enterprise, Kishan Enterprise, Rocco Distribution, A.O.K Enterprise, Albaraka Enterprise and Shortcut Enterprise.

Prosecution said the business owners actions (discharging solid waste into the public streets) are contrary to Section 3 (2a) of the Anti-Littering Regulations of 2007.  The Court heard that on or about 2nd July, 2012 at the Kanifing Municipality in the Republic of the Gambia, they unlawfully and willfully discharge solid water from their properties to the public street and thereby committed an offence.

On behalf of the accused cum convicts, Mr. Amadou Fatajo, proprietor of Moribolong Enterprise pleaded for the Court to forgive them. “This shall never happen again. We are all first time offenders in the eyes of the law,” he said.

He revealed that each shop at the Jimpex (a predominantly building material dealing center), has paid D2400 to Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) for garbage collections. 

“But they are not collecting the garbage and we will take up the matter with the KMC,” he stressed.

Surprisingly, the Prosecutor, Mr. Dampha who does not want his full name to be on newspapers, urged the court to temper justice with mercy. The National Environment Agency (NEA) employee said since the beginning of the monthly cleansing exercise (Set-setal) there has never been any report from Jimpex and they are all first time offenders.

All Stories Courtesy of The Voice Newspaper, Serrekunda, The Gambia

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