Indigenes of the mountain rural villages around Freetown depend solely on vegetable cultivation for their livelihood. However the quest to construct residences in those communities in the past few years has had great impacts on the farming activities. Vegetable farmers have expressed doubt on the possibility of them cultivating the swamp in the dry season. The chair lady of the Vegetable Growers Association of the Mountain Rural District, Binty Kamara lamented over the manner in which the construction of houses along waterways have caused destruction to their farming lands.
“I was born into this trade. For the past two years, there have been no land for us to work. This is due to the activities going on in the community. People have built houses in waterways.” Kamara said, they use to have enough enough land space to do their farming but it is no longer so. “We used to have waterways in these bushes.” According to Kamara, the rain washes the gravel into their swamps. Marian is a gardener. Her land space has been covered with residues of gravel. She said it will be impossible to plant vegetable on the land. The land will have to be dug up to one-foot-deep to enable them meet the actual soil. Marian expressed concern over the amount of money she will be charged to dig up the gravel. Elnora Jokomie Metzger is the village head of Regent she said the stream is getting shallow as people use it to dump garbage’s. They cut the soil on the hill to make level platform for their houses. “If it rains it washes the gravel down.” Even though the people depend on their farming for their livelihood she said she does not think they will have garden space by next year. “People are back filling the wetlands along Bathurst highway regardless of government’s warning”. Kamara said they have raised series of concern to the government but nothing has been done. “We want the government and concerned agencies to help with the construction of waterways”, she said.
By Edna Browne-Dauphine
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