Wednesday, March 22

Activista, others submit demands of rural farmers to lawmakers

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Activista and its partners also engaged the country’s parliamentarians on the demands they gathered from the rural farmers during their recently concluded “the land rights campaign” which was held in the North Bank Region.

It could be recalled that Activista, with partners, engaged women and smallholder farmers on “Access, Ownership and Control over Land.” 

The communities engaged during the land rights campaign include: Toubakolong, Nuimi Lamin, Sami Kuta, Pakau Nyongo, Fass Omar Saho, Sarreh Mari Dobo, Ba Fuloto, Chilli and Malick Nana among others. After the various engagements, village heads later endorsed the demands gathered from the respective villages with the hope that the lawmakers would not only table their demands at the parliament, but also endorse them.

Speaking at a convergence held at the National Assembly Member (NAM) office for Jimara Constituency, Hon. Essa Conteh, spoke at length on the importance of the forum, saying: “Every citizen has the right to demand things he or she wishes. However, we should also remember that every right comes with great responsibility.”

“When a project kicks start, at times it is given to people for implementation. However, most of the time it doesn’t work as expected. The main reasons why some projects die out is because we don’t want to take ownership or perhaps sometimes we don’t have the sufficient training for sustainability. Again, engaging people that are direct beneficiaries is always a problem,” he posited. 

The Jimara lawmaker added: “There is always a problem when it comes to handling the customary land tenure system.”

“With this system, the powers of the government are limited due to the fact that the government doesn’t have power to take people’s land or make decisions on individual farms.”

Most of the people in the rural areas, Conteh said, have problems because “the law of inheritance is not followed accordingly”, something he said, results in women encountering lots of problems. 

Gibbi Mballow, the NAM for Lower Fulladou West, dwelled on the significant role women continue to play towards the socio economic development of the country.

“If it is a petition about women rights in Upper Nuimi, then this petition would not waste time to reach the Parliament.  We will make sure that it reaches where it is supposed to reach as soon as possible,” he assured. 

Kumba Sanyang, vice chairperson of the Rural Women Assembly who also serves as the spokesperson of the women from Upper Nuimi, spoke on the importance of land ownership especially for women in Upper Nuimi.

“Islam gives women rights for inheritance. However, some men would take their own part of the inheritance plus the women’s share,” she pointed out. 

“We the women of Upper Niumi are tired. We farm to take care of our families, but even to have adequate water to supply to our gardens is a problem. Having access to storage facilities and a market is also another challenge,” she added. 

“Our children are dying in the Mediterranean Sea through the ‘back-way’.  Therefore, the government should take women’s rights seriously and create laws that protect our wellbeing including properties.  All we are asking for is 10% increment from the budget allocated to Agriculture,” she said. 

Hon. Omar Darboe assured that the issues highlighted in the petitions will be addressed when the two parliamentary committees sit.