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Agri-business the way for the private sector

Dec 18, 2014, 10:36 AM

Officials of the Gambia Commercial Agriculture and Value Chain Management project, in partnership with the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, have reiterated the importance of private sector participation in agriculture, at a press conference held on Tuesday at the Marche Jula, a mini-trade fair conducted by GCCI annually.

Their quest was to promote commercial agriculture as a way forward in increasing the wealth of farmers and improving micro-economic conditions through the value chain approach.

The need for greater private sector participation in agriculture, to make the growth of the sector more sustainable and progressive, continues to feature prominently in many forums in The Gambia.

Even President Yahya Jammeh has called on the private economic operators to enhance their role in agriculture.

In recent years, the governance of food and agriculture has been increasingly transformed by new technological, knowledge-based, financial and managerial resources and innovation. The private sector has been instrumental in driving such transformations.

A report by the Global Harvest Initiative confirms that the private sector is one of the key influencers in creating economic growth, raising incomes, and feeding an ever-increasing population through agriculture.

If The Gambia does not address sustainable food production methods, we will face land degradation and extinction of vital species, and loss of natural habitats for farming and wildlife.

The handwriting is clearly on the wall that what is sustainable today might not be tomorrow.So in order to achieve long-term sustainable development in agriculture, we must figure out how to produce more with less, and the private sector can and should play a crucial role in this endeavour.

The private sector operators can leverage on their expertise to make great strides through market-oriented solutions in conservation and sustainability.

In summary, enhanced private sector involvement in agriculture is the key to ensure that the country’s agricultural needs are met. We hope the private sector will rise to the challenge, and take the risk.

At this juncture, we must state the fact that the government also has a role to play by giving the private sector a shot in the arm to participate in agricultural ventures.

The government has to create an environment that is more conducive by coming up with a policy guideline that will accelerate private sector participation in agriculture, more so that GCCI, the private sector apex body, has focused on encouraging the business community in the country to go agriculture.

“To make agriculture sustainable, the grower has got to be able to make a profit.”

Sam Farr