#Article (Archive)

Mechanised agriculture catalyst for food self-sufficiency

May 18, 2012, 2:09 PM

The use of machinery such as tractors and power-tillers is essential for the attainment of food self-sufficiency in The Gambia.

The old days of doing things must change and, as such, we need to adjust in the way we handle agriculture, if only we are seriously committed to driving hunger away.

Food security could only be achieved when our farmers are given more support to boost their agricultural production.

It is true to say that the government alone cannot do it all, even though she should be the one to provide, and the timely intervention of development partners is also highly welcomed.

This week’s donation of over two million US dollars to the Gambia government by the Government of The Republic of China on Taiwan is one such intervention that could boost our national efforts in attaining food security.

The money we understood would be used for the procurement of tractors and other farming equipment, for the production of rice, groundnuts, among others.

With this latest ROC intervention, plus the over one thousand metric tonnes of fertiliser recently donated and other agricultural projects in the country, if fully utilised, would no doubt boost our national efforts.

We have always said that in order to achieve food self-sufficiency, and put hunger at bay in this country, we must invest heavily in agriculture and go in for mechanised farming.

We do hope that when purchased the tractors and other farming implements would be accessible to all Gambian farmers, irrespective of their political affiliation and sex.

Another problem about agriculture in Gambia is the sustainability aspect of our projects and farm implements like tractors.

If you go upcountry, you see many scrap farming equipment that were abandoned due to lack of regular maintenance, the  right spare parts and so on.

We hope that this time around, when the authorities are procuring the tractors and other farm implements, they would go in for both quality and durable machines whose spare parts could be easily available.

With more harvest in crop production, it is hoped that the country would safe more money used for the importation of rice and other food commodities, and thus put it to improving the national economy.

Agriculture must be prioritized, if we want to drive away hunger and malnutrition in The Gambia.