Agriculture and food security!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Agriculture is key to sustaining any national economy. It is the perfect channel towards achieving food security and food self-sufficiency. This clearly explains why many ascribe to the notion that agriculture is the foundation upon which all other developments are built.

With some 50,000 acres of desalinated land under improved rice irrigation systems, is evident that The Gambia’s march towards ensuring food self sufficiency drive is within reach.

This pronouncement was made recently as Council of Ministers of The Gambia River Basin Development Organisation (OMVG) called on President Adama Barrow at State House. Therefore, this ambitious project under the Samba Ngalo Dam Project needs to be embraced by all. It is a well know fact that The Gambia is endowed with vast arable land for agriculture. And this coupled with its teeming youthful populace, the country has the capacity as well as the potential to till the land for food security.

However, The Gambia’s dependence on imported rice is growing by the day. And this project has both social and economic benefits like agriculture, which through the Samba Ngalo Dam, will push the salt water. It is a fact that agriculture is key and central in a nation’s development. It is a sector that needs urgent priority. Unless and until we give particular attention to this sector, the country’s march towards achieving food self sufficiency and even providing solutions to the growing unemployment problem, will be a far fetched reality.

If our irrigation channels are reliable and our farms are mechanized, it will be easier to encourage young educated people to return to the farm and take up agriculture as a profession. And given our smaller population, food self-sufficiency is within reach if agriculture receives the priority it needs. Irrigation schemes, agricultural techniques and continued mechanization should still be the development focus.

With majority of the populace depending entirely on imported rice, bringing even few thousand of acres under rice cultivation would greatly halve and provide some form of solutions to a lot of problems we are facing now. We therefore hope and pray that this project soon gets underway. Let’s embrace this project!

‘‘Agriculture is not crop production as popular belief holds - it’s the production of food and fiber from the world’s land and waters. Without agriculture it is not possible to have a city, stock market, banks, university, church or army. Agriculture is the foundation of civilization and any stable economy.’’

Allan Savory