It’s time to develop irrigation system in Gambia!

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The long dry spell observed from July through to mid August will adversely affect major crops production in the country. This is testimony that The Gambia is highly vulnerable to climate change.

While some farmers cultivate their crops during the start of the rainy season, most of these crops were affected by insects amid long dry spell.

Reports have it that some farmers even resort to using water driven from taps and wells to water their crops during this trying times.  Yet, some farmers sounded optimistic of a bumper harvest especially those who cultivate their crops during the first drop of rains in parts of Upper River Region.

Undoubtedly, for centuries, perhaps nearly three-quarters into the 20th century, agriculture dominated the economy and the culture in most sub-saharan countries. Though, it is not an easy undertaking and never was, never will be.

In The Gambia, agriculture accounts for a significant portion in the country’s economy, contributing 32% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP); providing employment and income for 80% of the population and accounting for about 70% of the country’s foreign exchange earnings. It also remains the prime sector when it comes to consolidating gains in food security thus reducing poverty.

So without enough produce for most of these local farmers means the country is on the brink of food insecurity.

What we need to know is that The Gambia is endowed with so much water bodies that a deliberate effort to develop irrigation can result in food sufficiency even in times of drought. It is high time government look at ways of revitalising and refurbishing Jahally Pacharr rice irrigation farms in the event of poor rains.

The country cannot continue to depend forever on foreign partners in terms of food aids and grants especially when the country is witnessing food insecurity.

The private sector should also set its priorities and support the country’s agric development. The Gambia is a small country and its potential to secure food security through irrigation cannot be underestimated.

We need to holistically look at this sector and devise mechanism to ensure that the irrigation projects survive for the betterment of the country.