Sep 17, 2010, 1:02 PM
The initiative taken by the Ministry of Youth and Sports to hold consultative meetings with the local government authorities for the allocation of plots of land for the establishment of district farms for youths is a step in the right direction.
The introduction of district farms to be owned and managed by the youths at the district level is indeed a good move.
Agriculture is the backbone of The Gambia's economy and, therefore, needs to be given priority to boost people's economic empowerment.
Youth farms are a good and brilliant idea. However, if the ministry wants to see them sustained, they need to make it clear to the youths and local authorities that the farms are non political.
The district youth farms scheme should be something completely different.
Otherwise, the proposed farms will not be sustainable, and there would be no sense of ownership. In fact, it may fail!
Indeed, if properly implemented, this kind of initiative could create more employment opportunities and boost national efforts to attain food security.
We urge the local authorities to cooperate with the Ministry of Youth to provide the youth with farmland for this new venture. The timely availability of farm input such as fertilizer, seeds nuts and machinery would also make this project achieve its objectives rapidly.
We urge the Ministry to work with other stakeholders such as the Ministry of Agriculture and the Youth Employment Network, which is an advocacy youth group seeking more job opportunities for Gambian youth.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports should be commended for their foresight, and we wish them goodluck.