#Article (Archive)

Spread the Wealth

Sep 1, 2008, 9:28 AM

There has been a bumper rainy season and all over the nation certain farmers are claiming that they will enjoy a bumper harvest. These are the lucky ones because unfortunately many farmers all over The Gambia are suffering because of a lack of resources, fertiliser and equipment. We have in recent days seen and announcement from the Central Bank of The Gambia that economic growth is forecast to reach 6.5% for the year 2008. We must begin to ensure that this growth benefits all the people of The Gambia and not just the wealthy few at the top. The prediction is premised on a "strong rebound in agricultural output and the continued growth of the construction industry".  We must assume that the "strong rebound" mentioned is restricted to the larger wealthier farmers because all through the regions the smaller farmers are suffering because of the constraints mentioned above.

Even the simple matter of weeding is made far more difficult by a lack of equipment. If a tractor is used, the depth of sod that is turned over is far greater and as a result it takes a much longer time for the grasses and weeds to grow back through the soil meaning that farmers can spend the intervening time using their energy for other chores. When the humble hoe is used then the sod is not as deep and the weeds and grasses grow back more quickly meaning that many more man-hours are wasted weeding again very soon afterwards.

Coupled with this reality is the issue of seed and fertiliser costs. Many farmers are struggling to meet these costs and their crop is suffering as a result.

We must ensure that we spread the wealth of this nation to benefit all people. We must empower our farmers and ensure that they can get optimum use out of their land for their benefit, that of their families and the benefit of the nation. Economic growth is certainly good news for The Gambia but we must ensure that it is also good new for all our citizens.