Nov 18, 2013, 9:06 AM
The Country Director of ActionAid The Gambia, Dr. Kujejatou Manneh-Jallow, has said that an expert report has indicated that by September/October the price of a bag of rice, a staple food in The Gambia, will reach D1, 250. Dr. Manneh-Jallow made this revelation at a one-day consultative forum on National Food Security Situation and Response Strategies held at the Paradise Suites Hotel recently.
According to her, the issue has implication for majority of the citizens, especially for those receiving a minimum monthly income of D650 which, according to her, could hardly earn a bag of rice. She added that this is not taking into account the large number of non-wage earners.
Dr. Manneh-Jallow recollected that in the 1960s developing countries had an overall agricultural surplus of about US$ 7 billion but by the 1970s the surplus shrunk to $1 billion. By the end of the 1980s, she added, the surplus disappeared altogether, culminating in increased food imports from the 1990s to date.
She further observed that the capacity of most developing countries to produce their own food has been severely constrained by unfavourable policies both at national and international levels.
According to her, the liberalisation of agriculture through Structural Adjustment Programmes, free trade agreements and the World Trade Organisation eroded border protection through import tariff which, she noted, is needed to develop local agriculture.
As a result, she said, opening of borders together with huge subsidies in rich countries paved the way for cheap imports, thus undermining local agriculture and related sectors.