In Gambia, rising seas destroy rice fields, with dramatic consequences for farmers and the population

It is mainly women who work in the rice fields who lose their economic independence without harvesting

He is about to end up run over, his mother saves him

Not long ago, those who worked in the rice fields in Gambia, he managed to make sure rice for a whole year for himself and his family. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case today and a harvest is barely enough for three or four months. After that, one is forced to buy rice from abroad.

I collected sharply decreased, also due to thesea ​​level rise. Salt water pushes further and further along the Gambia River that runs through the country and cannot be used in rice fields, otherwise it would be impossible to grow rice.

If thefresh water becomes salty, to cultivate rice you have to rely only on rainwater; impossible taking into account the periods of drought. Over 30 hectares of land used for rice fields have therefore been abandoned.

Twenty years ago, a field would have produced 20 sacks of rice. Now, there are plans for a dam to stop the saltwater, but it is known that life will never go back to the way it was before the climate crisis arrived. This land was all paddy. Now everything is abandoned - explained Almamo Fatty, a 63-year-old Gambian farmer.

Land abandonment obviously has numerous consequences on the population, starting with the difficulty of feeding oneself. Agriculture is also the most important sector of the country's economy, accounting for about a quarter of GDP and employing about 75% of the workforce.

Not only. The work in the rice fields is traditionally entrusted to women and it is often the only occupation they can find. Without rice to grow, many women are left without jobs and livelihoods.

Several women in Gambia, after having managed to gain their own economic independence, are seen today forced to depend on children or husbands. In the case of domestic violence, they have no way to rebel in this situation.

There is a great injustice at the heart of all of this. Too often these underrepresented groups, such as women living in fragile states, understand better the stakes and, therefore, the solutions needed to tackle climate change. Yet women in particular have been systematically excluded from the decision-making table, the reflection of Fatou Jeng, a Gambian environmental activist who recently participated in COP26.

The climate crisis therefore has a Domino effect which involves the country's economy, the household economy and which puts the entire population at risk, starting with the most vulnerable categories who, although they are most affected, have no say in the matter.

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Source of reference: The Guardian / Rescue UK

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