Koya Kamara, productive lettuce farmer said she has only spent five years in lettuce farming, but he capability of producing lettuce is overwhelming, added that the lettuce seed is very difficult get in the market and that they are extracting it themselves through plantation.
Koya Kamara stated “when it time for us to harvest, our customers will uproot all the lettuce leaves at the center of the garden, leaving those at the side for it to grow to a point we can get a seed for us to process for the next planting season.”
She further said that lettuce is harvested after four or five weeks after plantation. Koya recounted that lettuce farming is her major source of income to support her children, as she noted that despite her sizeable plot of land for her plantation, but she is still making profit to run the affairs of her family.
A local gardener Abdulai Bangura at the Gloucester Community disclosed that he has been engaging into lettuce farming, since his childhood days. He vividly pointed out how the growing of lettuce is important to him and his family and stated that there are varieties of lettuce leaves that usually take different period for it to be harvested.
Abdulai Bangura highlighted challenges in the nursing process of lettuce, wherein he said that the soil need to be fertilized, adding that they are using fertilizers and chicken manure to fertilize the soil, and fertilizing chemicals which are difficult to lay hands on.
He mentioned that the gains from lettuce farming is what has kept him going and that he has been able to build a house out of lettuce farming. He made a plea to the country’s Agriculture Ministry to support their farming as it attracts a lot of profit.
Public Relations Officer, Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security, Abubakar Daramy, said his ministry has been supporting lettuce farmers not just those in the mountain areas but all over the country, and that those at the mountain areas of Freetown have been receiving supplied with seeds and tools over the years.
He added “the ministry will continue to support farmers in terms of technical advice and seeds in order to ensure that section of farming are sustainable.”
Abubakar Daramy further stated that Agriculture Ministry is working closely with Ministry of Trade and Tourism Ministry to provide access for lettuce farmers to market their produce at different hotels, bars and restaurants as a way of ensuring that they can earn huge profit.
Lettuce often used as leaves vegetables as well as seeds for plantation, as it most often used for salads, although it is also seen in other kinds of food, such as soups, sandwiches and wraps; it can also be grilled.
Soil nutrient deficiencies can cause a variety of plantation problems that range from malformed plants to lack of head growth.
Many insects are attracted to lettuce, including cutworms, which cut seedlings off at the soil line; wireworms and nematodes, which cause yellow, stunted plants, aphids tarnished plant bugs which cause yellow distorted leaves; leafhoppers, which cause stunted growth and pale leaves; and many others that affect the growth of lettuce.
However, there are nutritional value of lettuce varies with the specific variety. In general, lettuce provides small amounts of dietary fiber, some carbohydrates, a little protein and a trace of fat.