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Forecast Shows High Rainfall But also Flash-flood in Gambia

The 2020 seasonal climate forecast has been released recently showing improvement in the amount of water to be poured on crops. But the consequences of the quantity that’s expected to fall has been forecasted to cause disasters such as flash-flood in the communities.

The report is annually published by the Department of Water Resources primarily to guide local farmers ahead of the cultivation.

The department predicts that this year’s rainy season is most likely going to be ‘above average’ as the quantity of 1000mm is expected to fall mainly in the West Coast Region, North Bank Region, Lower River Region and Greater Banjul Area.

Considering the shaky rainfall patterns last year that nearly caused a seasonal failure of production across the country, many rural farmers welcomed this development.

However, fertilizer remains a challenge to farmers. “Last year, rain was our problem. It was just at least better but this time we pray and hope that the rainy season is far better this year” Alagie Jobe a farmer in Tambana Village tells the Chronicle.

Alagie Jobe

The Chronicle visited farmers in the North Bank area and It was observed that most of the farmers were busy clearing and tilling their farms before the season proper commences. As they till the soil they apply fertilizer on the plots.

“As at now, we are clearing our farms, Fatou Ceesay, a farmer tells The Chronicle. “The soil also needs fertilizer for better cultivation, but the time we do receive fertilizer from the government is always very late and this usually affects our harvest”.

She said the soil has lost its nutrients. Hence, applying fertilizer has become very important in the process.

“Here we only know farming. We are appealing for help from the gov’t and other agricultural institutions. The rainy season before and now is not the same. Before even if you don’t have fertilizer, you could have good a harvest but now the soil is no more fill with nutrients”

Fatou Ceesay

Kawsu Fatty, a groundnut producer, said last year, the expectations were high in terms of what they could harvest. However, the shortage of water has caused some problems for them.

For this year: “I can say there is high preparation and we are expecting good raining season as predicted”

Meanwhile, a meteorologist at the department of water resources, Tijani Bojang tells The Chronicle that the rain prediction gives more amount of expected rainfall in certain areas due to the climate condition of the country.

“The rainfall quantity is usually higher over the western part than the rest of the country. This could attribute to coastal influence and vegetable though, there is no independent research to verify this”

Tijani Bojang

However, he said the high amount of rains is predicted to be accompanied by frequent flash-flooding, physical damage to infrastructure and crops.

The National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) is aware of the consequences as predicted.

“Every year when the forecast is out, we do sensitization by working with the councilors in terms of clearing drains and waterways, because in many parts of the country, we don’t have proper drainage systems,” Kawsu Barrow, monitoring and evaluation officer at NDMA tells The Chronicle.

The agency’s sensitization of communities regarding preventive measures during the rainy season is not being done this year due to COVID-19 Pandemic, according to him.

He said disasters like floods during raining are also as a result of poor physical planning.

 

Omar Faye is a reporter with Choice FM Radio and Freelancing for the Chronicle. He’s currently studying Journalism and Communication at the Media Academy for Journalism and Communication (MAJaC).

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