"If I can speak the truth, we have next to nothing this year," says Fatou Jeng, 55, of Panneh Bah village in The Gambia. Fatou’s village is one of hundreds across the country that are deeply affected by poor rains and a failed crop harvest this year. For farmers who depend on three months of rain every year, a bad harvest can be devastating to their livelihoods and well-being.
Years ago, Fatou received training in agriculture and soil conservation, but as she says "when it doesn’t rain, it doesn’t matter." The poor results from groundnut and millet have left her family struggling to seek the means to feed their children three meals a day. Their groundnuts produced seeds of such low quality that had little value on the market and the money wasn’t enough to sustain the family two months after the harvest. Fatou is depending on small contributions from family members in the capital to cope during this hunger season.
So far, she hasn’t found anyone with much to spare. She sent her eldest son to seek work in the capital, but the prospects of finding a job are thin. Her health is declining and she stays in the village to care for her children and grandchildren.
The young ones needs to eat, and this is what keeps us going.
For Fatou and her family, the spectre of hunger lingers as the last of their food stocks will diminish in the coming weeks.
Location: Panneh Bah
Region: North Bank Region
Bo has been travelling around The Gambia (not just in areas where AAITG has an active programme, as in this case) to report on what is happening.