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Gambia cannot rely on imported food, says LRR Regional Agric Director

Feb 3, 2011, 12:22 PM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

The regional director of Agriculture in the Lower River Region, Falalo Touray, has stressed the need for concerted effort in ensuring increase in food productivity.

The country cannot continue to bank on imported food, Mr Touray told our reporter in a recent interview at Jenoi in Lower River Region.

The agriculture regional director stressed the need for a collective participation in the restoration of food security in the country.

He added that with the participation of all and sundry, there will be no doubt that years to come “The Gambia will not import rice”.

“I know the Gambian people, particularly the women, are committed and determined to ensure that The Gambia becomes self-sufficient in food security to rid the nation of hunger,” he said.

Mr Touray said Gambian people should emulate the president in responding massively to his call by going back to the land. “Since our aim is to reduce poverty in this country, there is need for holistic approach to doing so,” he said.

He added: “We need to work hard to increase our agricultural production in this country. Collective work and hard work is the only way that can help us in the restoration of food self-sufficiency in this country.

“There is no country that can grow without agriculture; therefore for The Gambia to desist from food importation, we the people need to redouble our effort in agricultural productivity in this country.”

He urged Gambians to continue their hard work and redouble their efforts to ensure The Gambia is one of the best countries in Africa in terms of rice production. “I believe Gambians are committed to ensuring the country is food self-sufficient. All what is needed is their collective responsibility and teamwork,” he reiterated.

For his part, the chief of Niani district in Central River Region, Pierre Bah, expressed similar sentiments.

He commended the community of Kuntaur for being committed and hardworking towards attaining more agricultural productivity in the country.

He noted that with the intervention of agric-minded NGOs and related projects in the agricultural sector of the country, in few years’ time, “the rural people will attract people in the urban areas to return to the provinces to find rice in their various regions of the country”.

The chief stated further that the commitment shown by farmers in his district “is a clear testimony that Gambian farmers are committed” to increasing agricultural production.

Also speaking to this reporter, the CRR North Regional Agricultural Director, Musa Humma, commended women of the district for their hard work and commitment in the farming sector.

He said that whilst they make efforts, they still need support in terms of capacity building to do more in the farming sector and to meet their family needs financially.

Ousman Jammeh, regional director of Agriculture in the Central River Regional South, said he was optimistic about the participation of the CRR farmers, particularly the Niamina East district farmers, in achieving food security.