#Article (Archive)

Rural-Urban Migration

Jun 26, 2008, 6:18 AM | Article By: By Nfamara Jawneh

The movement of people from the rural areas to the urban centres is another serious phenomenon posing challenges to many African countries and The Gambia is of no exception.

In The Gambia it is said that a good portion of the population lives in the Greater Banjul Area.

Most of these migrants are young people. They come to the urban areas for different and many reasons.

A good number of young people move from the village to the town in search of good jobs, education, recreational facilities and good health care just to name a few.

However, this phenomenon also comes with a lot of bad effects. These include, an increase in the ratio of crime rates, prostitution, overcrowding, traffic congestion, a high dependency ratio and job scarcity among others.

The issue of rural-urban migration has also contributed to the low agricultural productivity as most young people prefer to settle in the urban areas as opposed to staying in the rural areas. Youths are able, strong and energetic to work on farm unlike the old people. Its advisable for the youth to hold their parents on the farm after which they may come back to the town rather than staying there permanently with no permanent job or being under employed. As a youth you can also contribute to the development of farming by sending money and fertiliser to your families back home in the villages if they know they cannot go back to the land.

If we fail to go back to the land or contribute towards agricultural development we will continue to buy food grown by other farmers in other parts of the world at a very expensive prices. Some will spend their little earnings on feeding alone.

The active involvement of youths in farming, we continue to emphasise on this column, can make the country attain food self-sufficiency.

As a youth if one thinks that he or she is comfortable in the town because you feel that you can eat three times a day so you don't need to worry. You are mistaken. Food is very essential in life of course but is not the end and also those who contributed to your education are also expecting something in return from you.

Having stated that, I think government should also increase the recreational centres, job opportunities, higher institutions of learning, and many more in the rural areas to encourage young people to stay and work in their own localities. This will definitely reduce the negative effects of rural urban migration including those mentioned above.