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A Better Life for All

Mar 31, 2008, 7:55 AM

President Yahya Jammeh last Friday presided over the state opening of the National Assembly for the Legislative Session of 2008. As usual, the high and the mighty graced the occasion with their presence. And the President seized the opportunity to expound on his government's achievements and his vision for the country in the years ahead.

Of particular interest to us is the President's declaration that agriculture would now be an all-year activity. He said: "From now on, agriculture will no longer be a seasonal activity based on the short seasonal rains, but one that will be an all-year activity and taking full advantage of the new technologies available."

Although President Jammeh did not give details of how "agriculture will be given a new lease of life under [his] leadership as the Secretary of State for Agriculture", it is heartening that his government is already giving serious thought to the collective desire to "achieve food security and self-sufficiency".

Because what the government is about to do is akin to a revolution, there is need for greater awareness campaign so as to carry the people along. It will take a lot of persuasion to wean our people out of the age-old habit of depending mainly on food imports. They will have to be made to realise that it is far better to consume what we produce than to consume what is imported. It is important therefore for government to match words with action right away.

And this calls for discipline at all levels of society, not only in the schools. The President is right when he said, "a nation with a few highly disciplined academics has a brighter future than one with thousands of highly undisciplined academics". If we are to succeed as a farming nation, we need discipline in every way. Undoubtedly, discipline is the key to success.

Talking about discipline, we urge our youth to appreciate the dignity of labour by acquiring skills that will stand them in good in life. Our youth should take pride in picking up skills such as motor repair, tailoring, hairdressing, driving, etc. Acquiring such skills will not only boost their self-esteem, but will also reduce poverty in society. And in the long run, we will be able to produce what we consume and consume what we produce. It is only when we get to that stage that we can rest assured that we are on the path to achieving a better life for all.

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Ulysses Grant