#Article (Archive)

Agriculture Must be given Priority Attention

Jun 11, 2009, 7:13 AM

Now that the world is facing serious food and financial crisis, the price of essential commodities particularly food, has risen beyond the means of the common man.

It's therefore imperative that we invest heavily on agriculture thus giving it priority attention.

We totally agree with the National Assembly Select Committee on agriculture who recently raised concerns for more attention to be given to agriculture.

The committee members lamented on the current status of agriculture in the country.

They called on farmers to diversify on more productive and commercial farming. "We as national assembly members must stand on our feet to scrutinize and make sure the call of back to the land of the president, is answered to boost the agricultural sector in The Gambia. But it is incumbent on farmers to diversify into micro productive or commercial farming to satisfy the needy on food and finances respectively", they emphasized.

This is absolutely right; however government also should try to give soft loans, farming implements and seed nuts to the farmers. Subsidizing agriculture will no doubt promote productivity.

Mechanizing agriculture is the only way out for the country.

According to the agric committee members, the Ministry of Agriculture has a lot to do in order to bring back agriculture to its feet. This, in itself is telling us that our agriculture system is not doing well, and thus calls for adjustment from the side of both the government, farmers and the private sector.

You visit some of the agricultural centres in the country you wonder what work they are doing where you see so many broken down tractors and other delapidated machinery.

The ministry of agriculture must look at ways and means of turning the agricultural sector into a more vibrant occupation as our livelihood depends on it.

They also called on business men to invest in agriculture, especially farming and poultry production, to boost agriculture in the Gambia. This is the reality in many countries and the Gambian businesses should also consider investing heavily in the field. The budgetary allocation for agriculture still needs to be increased.

The government should as well consider establishing an agricultural development bank to help farmers.