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Gambia’s annual rice import bill stands at US$50M

Oct 29, 2014, 10:09 AM

The Gambia “will no longer be importing rice”, after 31 December 2015, as it costs the nation annually US$50 million, said President Yahya Jammeh in a recent interview granted the national TV station GRTS.

The Gambia, which imports rice from mainly India and Thailand, produces less than 15 per cent of her own requirements in rice.

Gambia’s requirement of new rice is 175,500 metric tonnes per annum, while local production is 24,895 metric tonnes, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

As part of The Gambia’s Vision 2016, which is calling for national food self-sufficiency starting from 2016, the President has challenged all Gambians, particularly agriculture project directors, to redouble their efforts at ensuring that Gambia produces more agricultural foodstuffs to end rice importation. This is in line with his slogan of “Grow what you eat and eat what you grow”.

President Jammeh has also warned all agricultural directors to desist from “corruption” in executing agricultural projects.

Presently eight senior agricultural directors, including the permanent secretary, are undergoing trial at the high court of The Gambia. They are charged with economic crimes and corruption relating to agricultural projects.

The President also reiterated his stance for “zero tolerance in mismanagement of agricultural projects”.

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