Wintering (the rainy season) is an important period in agricultural activity, when the rains invigorate the fields and make them fertile. Unfortunately, because of climate change and irregular and decreasing rainfall, crops suffer from drought, producing poor harvests that do not allow farmers to make a living. Faced with these difficulties, villagers have had to adapt their farming practices in preparation for the winter season, as some of them explain in this report.
“My name is Fanta Kone from Kayes Banzana. I’m going to talk about the rainy season because last year it hardly rained at all due to the lack of vegetation. I grow okra: it takes 3 days for the seeds to germinate, but often 3 days go by without a drop of rain, and that damages the crops. We’re just trying to make a living, and without agriculture, we can’t live. This year we’ve prepared our fields with manure, so we’re not discouraged. The lack of rain is our main problem.”
“My name is Koumba Sow. In preparation for the rainy season, we brought manure to the field and weeded it. The problem is that we often sow and the rains stop early and the young shoots dry out quickly, which is why our harvests are so bad. We have made the necessary arrangements for the winter, but it’s because of the irregularity of the rains that the harvests are not good. That’s our big problem today. We grow rice, groundnuts and maize, but often nothing works. We have to sow several times, and okra in particular is attacked by harmful mushrooms or caterpillars that often come and eat the young shoots. Locusts often devour our fields too, so we don’t know what to do.”
“My name is Oumar Konaté from Banzana. In the old days there were lots of trees and plenty of wildlife. The rainy season was good because it rained a lot. Now there’s no rain and there are no trees; during the winter all our seedlings don’t germinate because of the irregularity of the rains, despite the fact that we use compost. The irregularity of the rains has led us to grow a variety of sorghum millet that is very resistant to drought. We have to sow several times because the rains are not regular.