Horticultural Garden in Tamba Kunda, The Gambia
Initiative set up by Penny Appeal brings hope and sustainability to rural town in The Gambia
The Gambia used to rely heavily on the export of groundnuts, especially peanuts - as the cornerstone of its rural economy, in recent years the industry has declined rapidly, leaving many agricultural labourers with little work and few means of supporting their livelihoods. This was the case in Tamba Kunda, a rural town in the south of the country, close to the border with Senegal.
Thanks to the help of Penny Appeal, the denizens of Tamba Kunda - especially farmers and agricultural labourers - now have a sustainable place to grow crops, and a way to secure their livelihoods with their horticultural garden, an initiative set-up and subsequently supported by Penny Appeal through the Feed our World programme.
One such beneficiary of the initiative is Ousman Gibba, a farmer who works a plot of land within the garden. He spends his time maintaining the ground, removing weeds and overseeing the growth of his crops from planting right through to harvest.
He describes the boon the garden has brought him, and his fellow townsfolk, “Since we've had the garden we have all sorts of foods and a healthy diet, and we don't have to get them from town - now the people in town want to buy from us! We also get money from selling the crops. We're very happy thanks to the garden."
Another farmer who uses the garden, as part of a mother and daughter team is Awn Gibba, her daughter, Mariatou helps her maintain her plot of land. They grow mint in this area, which is particularly sought after in local markets as a delicious flavouring for traditional Gambian dishes. She explained how the money she earns from her crops helps to send her children to school, "I earn money by selling the things I grow in garden, which means I can now afford to send my children to school. I can even afford to give them lunch money and some pocket money!"
The garden enjoys the use of three different types of wells to ensure sustainability and the assurance of water in all seasons; this means that the farmer’s crops are always nourished. Within the garden there is a 2 metre well, a 35 metre well and a more sophisticated solar well, which can reach water much deeper in the ground. Even in the difficult dry season, crops are always irrigated.
As the garden is a particularly important asset to the local community, it has a management committee. The committee oversees any important decisions that are taken regarding the garden’s growth, its maintenance and its overall sustainability. As part of this, everyone who owns a plot of land in the garden pays a 10% subsidy from their income to keep the garden well maintained, which ensures that if anything needs repairing, the funds are always available. One of the most popular decisions the committee made was to plant lemon trees around the garden, to both mark the border and to harvest the fruit, which is shared between all the farmers here.