#Article (Archive)

Agriculture must be given priority

Apr 22, 2010, 1:56 PM

Now that the world is facing serious food and financial crises, the prices of essential commodities, particularly of food items, has risen beyond the reach of the common man.

It is, therefore, imperative that we invest heavily in agriculture, and thus give it the required attention. Every now and then, concerns are being raised about the escalating prices of essential commodities.

As we approach yet another rainy season, farmers need to diversify into more productive areas such as commercial farming. We must all stand on our feet, and make sure that the agriculture sector in The Gambia receives the needed boost.

While there is a need to diversify into macro productive or commercial farming, if agriculture is to attain the desired results, appropriate and timely measures must be taken to address the present setbacks.

To this end, agricultural inputs should be made available on a timely basis, as well as prices be remunerative enough to induce increased production. Good agricultural production not only feeds families, but also increases exports and earning capacities of the consumers.

The government should also try to give soft loans, farming implements and seed nuts to the farmers.

While subsidizing agriculture will, no doubt, promote productivity, mechanization is the surest way to carve the way out of the woes of the farming community.

The Ministry of Agriculture has a lot to do in order to bring back agriculture to its feet. This also calls for adjustment from all sides, both the government and the private sector.

The Ministry of Agriculture must look at ways and means of transforming the agricultural sector into a more vibrant occupation, as our livelihood depends on it.

Businessmen must also be ready to invest in agriculture, especially crop farming, livestock and poultry production, to boost agriculture in The Gambia.

This is the reality in many countries, and Gambian businesses should also consider investing heavily in the field.

"Agriculture not only gives riches to a nation, but the only riches she can call her own."