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African leaders urged to emulate President Jammeh

May 15, 2015, 9:36 AM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

The President of the National Farmers Platform of The Gambia (NFPG), Alagie Bassi Mboge, has challenged African leaders to emulate President Yahya Jammeh’s footstep in boosting agricultural production and productivity.

He described President Jammeh as a president with a difference whose ambition is to ensure that not only The Gambia becomes food self-sufficient, but also the whole of Africa.

Speaking to this reporter in an interview, Mr Mboge said the ongoing presidential tour to meet with farmers across the country is a clear demonstration that President Jammeh is taking the lead to ensuring decades of importation of rice become a thing of the past in the country.

Commenting on President Jammeh’s nationwide tour on Vision 2016 rice fields, Mr Mboge commended the President for the laudable initiative of meeting farmers, and discussing with them the way forward in addressing some of their major concerns regarding the attainment of Vision 2016.

According to Mr. Mboge, President Jammeh’s visiting of Vision 2016 rice fields was another example in Africa or in the whole world, for which the President should be commended.

He said that after Vision 2016, there would be no importation of rice and some other vegetable crops to The Gambia, calling on people or farmers to diversify their crops during the rainy season.

Mr Mboge also spoke at length about their activities, saying the National Farmers Platform has seed cooperatives in the North Bank and CRR South.

This year, he said, they hope to have seed cooperatives all over the country, within which rice would be very key in the seed promotion initiative.

He disclosed that NFPG is on advocacy on Vision 2016, as they have meetings with heads of farmer-based organizations across the country to discuss Vision 2016, share knowledge and experiences and the best practices to apply in achieving the vision.

He added that with the commitment of the heads of farmer-based organizations there is no doubt that Vision 2016 would be achieved.

President Jammeh is one of the leading examples of leaders championing agricultural production and productivity, he said, adding that emulating his vision would help to take the country to higher heights.

He commended President Jammeh for the reduction of the price of fertilizers, which was a major issue “affecting 95 per cent” of the Gambian farmers.

Affordability of fertiliser was also a problem, but with the intervention of President Jammeh, that has now become a thing of the past.

Mr Mboge also recognised the effort of the Ministry of Agriculture for their support and encouragement to farmers through the Gambian leader.

“Today all farmers are happy to see the President meeting them, share ideas with them and carve the way forward in boosting agricultural production and productivity,” he noted.

According to Mr Mboge, attaining Vision 2016 is a collective effort and responsibility for every patriotic citizen, to play their role in ensuring the dream becomes a reality.

He challenged the youths going through the “back way” to Europe, saying: “All the opportunities are available in the country, but it is left in the hands of the youths to utilize it without risking their lives to Europe.”

He also said there is need for the youths to be actively involved in agriculture.

According to Mr Mboge, plans are under way to go ahead with the campaign or advocacy on youths’ involvement in agriculture to ensure Vision 2016 is achieved.

Mr Mboge also revealed his organization’s commitment in ensuring they meet with heads of farmer organizations for more sensitization in achieving Vision 2016.

He also appealed for mobility for his organization, which is the umbrella body of farmers.

“The willingness and commitment is there to meet every single farmer through the heads of farmer organizations to sensitize them on the Vision 2016 initiative,” he said.