#Article (Archive)

Robust Discussion Must Lead to Actionable Solutions

Oct 22, 2008, 5:11 AM

Nothing brings effective resolution to a problem like robust discussion and that is exactly what we saw in the National Assembly in recent days when the continuing difficulties with the poor groundnut trade were discussed. A number of members spoke on the issue and expressed varying views as to how the matter might be addressed. There was widespread agreement however that something must be done.

For the last number of years we have been experiencing problems when it comes to the groundnut harvest so it is disappointing that we have again reached this time of year without proper preparations being in place.

The central question still remains in the aftermath of the debate: Where will farmers market their produce?

Honourable Momodou Sellu Bah, member for Basse, maintained that if there is no proper control mechanism put in place, with regard to cross border selling it will be very difficult to maintain the food security status of the nation.

For Hon. Netty Baldeh, member for Tumana, who has a different opinion, it is not for nothing that farmers sell their produce across the boarders, but it's because there's no market for their produces. He noted that unless The Gambia is prepared to establish market for farmers' produce, the situation would remain the same.

We all understand that farmers cannot simply sit around and wait for markets which are not there so this is obviously another issue which, needs to be addressed quickly.

Hon. Mama Kandeh, member for Jimara however, reinforced Hon. Bah's point of view that the issue is not of integration, but of hunger. He advocated that as representatives of the people they should be ready to go all out to sensitise their people on the issue of food security.

For his part Hon. Yerro Mballow, member for Upper Fulladu is also of the opinion that a control mechanism cannot be put in place when farmers' produce cannot be purchased. He noted that side marketing has been rampant in the groundnut sector because of unfeasible producer markets and prices offered to farmers.

Hon. Abba Sanyang, member for Foni Kansala says that he hears warning bells, regarding the global food crisis.

All of the above are valid points and arguments but unfortunately, even after this robust debate, we seem to be no closer to a resolution of this issue.

Farmers are facing a tough time for the coming harvest season if action is not taken to address their problems. As we have said robust open debate is essential to arriving at solid, well thought out answers but we must always be careful not to debate too much and never arrive at an actionable answer.

"It takes one hen to lay an egg, but seven men to sell it."

C.J. Dennis.