agriculture sector remains to be the main engineer of the country’s economy but
the system needs new paradigm shift from only rain fed agriculture to a more
economic vibrant agriculture, says Dr. Saikou E. Sanyang, programme officer of
ActionAid International The Gambia Kudang office has said.
He said empirical researches have established that it has become increasingly clear that investing in agriculture is the best way to end hunger, malnutrition and extreme poverty in Africa, adding agriculture can create economic growth.
Speaking to this reporter in an interview, Dr. Sanyang said agricultural transformation and development in The Gambia would help to revitalise rural areas and turn them from zones of economic stagnation to communities of economic prosperity. “But this will require significant investment in boosting agricultural productivity, development of rural infrastructure, provision of affordable finance and incentives for the private sector to establish food processing and agro-based industries,” he said.
Importantly, he said agricultural financing generally means comprehensive studying, examining and analysing the financial aspects pertaining to agricultural development.
Dr. Sanyang also emphasised that innovative financing through agricultural development bank would be a right footing and appropriate direction for smallholder farmers to have easy access to soft loans with minimum interest rates and non-collaterals. “This kind of intervention will serve as attraction to young agro-entrepreneurs to embrace agriculture as business entity and building confidence among producers will continue to prevail.”
He said regulatory frame work of sound and workable agricultural policy, investment policy such as GNAIP, strategy plan and formidable work plan in tandem with the support of appropriate budget allocation to agriculture will go a long way in improving the agricultural production and productivity in The Gambia.