Muslims in the Gambia are being urged to perform special prayers for beneficial rain on Friday.
The small West African country like in the previous year, is experiencing prolonged and abnormal cessation of rains across all regions which has delayed the planting operations of millet, rice, maize and sorghum crops, to be harvested from October.
The low cumulative rainfall amounts since June has resulted in poor crop germination rates and some replanting may be required.
An estimated 89000 people in the country are already in need of food assistance between this June and August due to a drop in the production the major cash crop, groundnuts in 2018.
Nearly 46 000 people in the country were already in need of food assistance between March and May 2019, according to Cadre Harmonisé (CH), a regional framework aimed to prevent food crisis.
Concerned over the situation, the country’s head of the Supreme Islamic Council , Imam Muhammad Lamin Touray, Thursday appealed to all imams and scholars to “perform prayers for seeking rain from Allah (Salatul Ististqa’a) that is beneficial.
The imam also prayed to Allah to continue to shower His divine blessings in the Gambia and bless farmers with a bumper harvest in this year’s rainy season.
Although the agricultural sector is the most important sector of the Gambian economy, contributing 32% of the gross domestic product and providing employment and income for 80% of the population, it has suffered years of neglect by the authorities.
The country is currently importing more than over half of the national cereal utilisation. And despite adequate availabilities of grains on markets, most households do not have enough access to food as prices of most staple foods are above average and households’ purchasing power.