The Agric Minister has a task at hand

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The alarm bells as regards the state of food insecurity and malnutrition in the country have been rung, with dire tunes that call for serious and meaningful actions from all stakeholders in the agricultural sector of the nation, particularly the Ministry of Agriculture.

It has been noted that nearly 300,000 people in the country risk being without access to sufficient quantity and nutritious food, which may have devastating effects on their health.

In this case, malnutrition – physical weakness and bad health from lack of sufficient nutritious food – will be the ultimate state of our people’s health condition, as already indicated by research and reports of international bodies like the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

According to FAO reports (2014), agriculture accounts for 23% of The Gambia’s GDP and employs 75% of the rural population yet food security is an increasing problem, with 285,000 people at risk of food insecurity.

The nation, it is stated, is also grappling with food and nutrition security issues, which are a challenge in all the five regions of the country, with some regions, such as Central River Region North and South, and Upper River Region, already classified as entering “the red zone”, indicating an emergency situation.

Another dire situation, as discovered, is lack of nutritious food and knowledge on nutrition, particularly for mothers, which results into critical deficiencies for children.

This challenge is confronting the nation through the axis of the agriculture ministry, which is the ministry charged with the responsibility to brainstorm and lead in efforts at finding solutions to our food security challenges as well as at transforming our agricultural sector for the better.

How far this has been achieved is the concern of the people of this country, which calls for a concerted effort involving national and international stakeholders such as Food and Agriculture Organsiation, World Food Programme, the European Union, and United Purpose (formerly known as Concern Universal).

This effort is expected to be championed by the Ministry of Agriculture, at whose table the task lies for accomplishing an agricultural system that does not only provide adequate nutritional foods to attain food security in The Gambia but also generates substantial riches for the government and people of this country.

“Agriculture not only gives riches to a nation, but the only riches she can call her own. ”

Samuel Johnson