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A Welcome Visitor

Nov 10, 2008, 3:55 AM

The visit of Dr Jacques Diouf, the Director General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) for a two-day working visit yesterday is both timely and welcome.

He will discuss the global food crisis with President Jammeh and also cement the already cordial bilateral relations between The Gambia and the FAO. Many people in the country are now struggling to pay for rice along with all other types of food. The price of a bag is fast heading towards D1000 and beyond the means of many people.

Speaking to journalists shortly after his arrival at the BanjulInternationalAirport, the FAO boss said he would also hold talks aimed at reviewing the situation of agriculture not only in The Gambia, but also in Africa and the entire world.

"We will also discuss key areas on the global food crisis, animal production and fishing among others. The food crisis has affected Africa because we do not have the elasticity to supply food in response to the growing food crisis compared to developed countries in other parts of the world," Dr Diouf said.

This is unfortunately true. The fact that it is made all the more distressing by the fact that at one point in the not too distant past The Gambia was completely food self-sufficient. It will be very difficult to regain this worthwhile position but we must leave no stone unturned in trying to get back there.

According to Dr. Diouf, Africa deserves special attention and special support to avert the global food crisis. Again this is correct. We in Africa continue to be among the worst affected in the world by the crisis. Many people are starving on our continent and this is something we must not tolerate.

Hopefully with partners like the FAO and other development organisations we can avert this crisis and regain our position as a food self-sufficient nation.

"Fame is at best an unperforming cheat; But 'tis substantial happiness, to eat."

Alexander Pope