Mar 11, 2010, 1:14 PM
In line with the country’s drive towards attaining food self-sufficiency, and improved agricultural productivity, President Yahya Jammeh Monday presented dozens of tractors to the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the 40 traditional chiefs across the country.
The gesture, described as timely, has come as the country intensifies efforts towards the attainment of food self sufficiency and to improve agricultural productivity, among others.
Speaking at a ceremony held at State House grounds, attended by cabinet ministers, chiefs, National Assembly Members, among others, President Jammeh called on Gambians to turn to the farms and work, and avoid depending entirely on imported goods.
“If you depend on yourselves for the food that you produce, then you are assured of a better life,” he said, adding that the gesture has nothing to do with politics, as it was something expected of him in pursuit of national development.
“Let’s turn to the farm and work. If we continue to sit down and depend entirely on imports, it will not pay off. Let Gambians wake up, stand firm, have faith in God, and depend on ourselves,” he said, adding that a lot of alien diseases have become rampant in the country. This, he said, could be attributed to the type of imported foods consumed.
While calling on Gambians to eat what they grow, and reduce their dependence on imported foods, the Gambian leader noted that diseases have become rampant and attributed that to nothing else, but what we consume.
He also called on the citizenry to cherish his back-to-the-land call.
Jammeh also underscored the need for proper care and maintenance of the tractors with a view to ensuring their durability, adding that he has realised that Gambians do not take proper care of what is being given to them.
“Since no one can show us even the parts of the tractors that were previously donated, then it will be discouraging for me to continue giving out tractors. But that doesn’t mean that I will not give out tractors.
“If I see somebody who is a farmer and is serious in doing that, I will give that person a tractor. But to give out tractors only for the beneficiaries to sell them out later will not be condoned,” President Jammeh stressed.
He told the gathering that the investment in the tractors could have been diverted to other national development endeavours such as education.
Sheriff Gomez, minister of Youth and Sports in his statement on the occasion, underscored the importance and timeliness of the gesture, which seeks to complement President Jammeh’s clarion call for the people to go back to the land.
According to him, effective agricultural production cannot be achieved without the active participation of young people, whom he urged to be steadfast and redouble their efforts in the national development crusade.
“The youth have a greater stake in the realisation of the development goals enshrined in the Vision 2020 and other blueprints,” he said, while urging them to abandon their “ghettos” and walk on the path that has already been paved by President Jammeh.
Other speakers at the ceremony included Attorney General and minister of Justice Edward Gomez, Health and Social Welfare minister Fatim Badgie, the permanent secretary, Ministry of Local Government and Lands, Saihou Sanyang, and the mayor of
The chiefs led by Paramount Chief Demba Sanyang also commended President Jammeh for his generosity, noting that the gesture symbolizes the importance he attaches to agricultural development.
While assuring him that the tractors will be put into good use, the chiefs further commended President Jammeh for the gesture, which they said they have been yearning for over the years.