Youth forum: Rural-Urban migration

Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Statistics have shown the movement of people from the rural areas to the urban centres is another serious phenomenon posing challenges to many African countries, and The Gambia is no exception.

In The Gambia, the statistics show that a good portion of the population who live in the Greater Banjul Area were all from the provinces, and settled down in the Greater Banjul Area and its environs.

Most of these African migrants are young people. They come to the urban areas or travel to Europe through illegal means, for different and many reasons.

A good number of young people move from the village to the town in search of good jobs, education, recreational facilities and good healthcare, among other factors.

However, this phenomenon also comes with a lot of bad effects. These include increase in the crime rate, prostitution, overcrowding, traffic congestion, a high dependency ratio and job scarcity.

The issue of rural-urban migration had also contributed to the low agricultural productivity, as most young people prefer to settle in the urban areas as opposed to staying in the rural areas.

The youth are able, strong and energetic to work on farms unlike the old men and women. It is advisable for the youth to help their parents on the farm, after which they may come back to the town, rather than staying there permanently with no reliable job or being under-employed. As a youth, you can also contribute to the development of farming by sending money and fertiliser to your family back home in the villages, if you know that you cannot go back to the land.

If we fail to go back to the land or contribute towards agricultural development, we will continue to buy food grown by other farmers in other parts of the world, at a very expensive price. Some will spend their little earnings just on feeding.

The active involvement of youths in farming, we continue to emphasise in this column, can make the country attain food self-sufficiency.

As a youth, you tend to think that you are comfortable in the town, because you feel that you can eat three times a day; so you don’t need to worry.

However, you are mistaken. Food is very essential in life, of course, but it is not the end; and also those who contributed to your education are also expecting something in return from you.

Having stated that, I think the government should also increase the recreational centres, job opportunities, higher institutions of learning, and many more in the rural areas so as to encourage young people to stay and work in their own localities.

This will definitely reduce the negative effects of rural urban migration, including those mentioned above.

Author: Bakary Samateh