- Rice growers in at least 26 Gambian provincial villages have had their crops destroyed by hippopotamus and bush pigs.
Most rice farmers in the country depend on harvested crops to feed their families or cater for their other needs.
“It’s from my rice field that I feed my family as well as pay my children’s school fees and other needs,” ‘The Point’ quoted a desperate woman farmer, Jainaba Jallow as saying.
But farmers of the affected communities have been reeling with fears of being faced with acute food scarcity because beasts descended on their crops at a time when most people are yet to harvest them.
A chief of one of the affected districts [Nianija], Alhassan Cham was equally concerned about the consequences of the rising destruction of the wild beasts. Cham has asked the government to quickly bail out farmers in their trying time.
Grown in the country for over two centuries, rice has always been a staple food in The Gambia and most parts of West Africa. Rice cultivation takes place in both dry and wet seasons in most communities in the Central River Region [over 200 km from the capital Banjul].
However, majority of Gambians depend on imported rice for survival.
But a failure to avert the wild beasts destruction will undoubtedly soar poverty rate [currently 69%] in a country where food poverty is becoming unbecoming.
Despite posing threats to human life, conservation laws outlaw the killing of hippopotamus. Few years ago, six fishermen drowned at sea after their canoe was capsized by a hippopotamus in Central River Division.
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