Lamin Ndambung Dibba, Agriculture Minister!

Rural urban migration is the key problem that affects The Gambia’s economic development. The migration resulted to low agriculture productivity and over population of urban areas. Almost one-third of The Gambia’s population live in urban areas such as Greater Banjul. The people who live in this urban areas are not involved in agriculture production which is the main engine of economic growth, food sufficiency, and vibrant and sustainable healthy population. In as much as the government is talking about food sufficiency, if the half of population refuse to engage in agriculture or there is no mechanized farming, The Gambia will continue to depend on imported food. To solve this problem, President Barrow needs to relocate the capital to Mansakonko where the majority of the people are farmers and also Mansakonko is located in the center of country. This will be the single most effective strategy that would demonstrate that The Gambia is serious with decentralization and prioritizing agriculture production as the main engine of economic development. As once mentioned by Dida Halake, Mansakonko has huge advantages which include large fertile land and good road networks (the current Yelli Tenda/Bamba Tenda bridge under construction will be an added advantage for Jarra) will allow ordinary citizens in the country to recognize the presence of government in their doorstep. This will also give the people of Jarra and the rest of rural area Gambia to think of developing their local communities rather than moving to urban areas.

The Gambia military must also be used in this effort by engaging in agriculture production. Currently, The Gambia army is not being utilized for any useful purpose as far as agriculture is concerned. Rather than sitting in barracks doing nothing and getting paid, the military should be engaged in agriculture to enhance productivity.

The businessmen should also be engaged in mechanized or commercial farming. There is a lot of potential in The Gambia but the problem is lack of political leadership with clear vision to move the country in the right direction. The majority of Gambian intellectuals are also not helping the situation because they are not using ideas to advance aspirations of the people. This is because the intellectuals are supposed to be innovators, inventors and agents of change but in The Gambia majority of our intellectuals are simply fighting over government jobs. When they have the opportunity to serve the people, they engage in dubious and unethical behavior. Most of them act at the detriment of the masses.

National Agriculture Research Institute has failed to live up to its expectations by Inot coming up with any productive agenda that would transform agricultural productivity in the country. The leadership of this institution is more concerned about their pockets than agricultural issues Gambian farmers face. These are all issues that the government and relevant authorities need to look into in order to successfully overhaul poor agriculture productivity in the country. The single greatest threat that face our country is inability to feed our rising population. This is evidenced by the fact that 75 % of remittances sent to the country are used for food consumption. It was about time for The Gambian people consider mechanized farming as the most important agricultural method to enhance productivity to guarantee food sufficiency, vibrant economic growth and healthy population.

Ends

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