Reason for the Decadence of Rice Farming in the Rural Areas
Many efforts have being made to actualize food sufficiency but it has always been a great challenge for both past and present Governments because rural farmers couldn’t afford to hire tractors and other farming machines that would have enabled them to practice mechanized farming.
The major problem that led rural farmers to abandoned rice crop production according to a native farmer at Worreh Makankry Village, Gbantie Chiefdom, Bombali District, North of Sierra Leone, Chief Santigie Angbat Kamara, their crops are always attacked and destroyed by cattle.
Over the decades, poor farmers alleged that the Fullah cattle rearers have been conniving with few local authorities like the Paramount Chiefs and village Headmen to settle permanently at the disadvantage of the rest of the farming communities in the chiefdom and at district level.
According to the poor farmers, whenever such matter is reported to the Police, no positive action is taken by concerned authorities to help compensate farmers for destroying their plantations by the roaming bulls, cows and calves.
Some local authorities are accused of taking Cow bribe and millions of Leones to settle the Fullahs without the consent of majority of the farmers who are suffering under such circumstance.
The devastated crop producers told this medium that they have invited the intervention of the current Minster of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS), Professor Patrick Monty Jones and other officials in the ministry for a peaceful resolution between the crop and livestock farmers but it always ended in deadlock.
Interrogating one of the Fullah cattle rearers, Mr. Alhaji Barrie on why they fond of over grazing their cattle and destroy plantations in that part of the country, he responded that in the north, there are enough green pasture and abundant water for their livestock to survive well and give birth safely to many calves.
The local crop farmers further stated that the lack of Government support in terms of giving loans or providing them with farm implements in a cheaper rate is another contributing factor that has left them with no option but to involve in subsistence farming system to feed themselves and family members only but not to be presented in the market for sale.
In the past, the angry farmers explained that farming was attractive to young people because the Government and private sector was investing in agriculture through the provision of modern farm tools to fast track work where there are vast and arable lands.
By Abdul S. Kamara
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