Oct 31, 2011, 1:36 PM
Rice is the staple food not only in The Gambia but also in many parts of the African continent.
Even though the majority of Gambian farmers, mostly women, are involved in rice cultivation; the country produces less than 15 per cent of her rice requirement.
According to statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture, The Gambia’s annual rice requirement is 175,500 metric tonnes, while local production stands at 24,895 metric tonnes.
It costs the nation US$50 million, annually, to import the balance to make up for the total rice need of The Gambia.
Now, since the world price of rice has declined, the Gambian authorities particularly the ministries of Finance, and Trade as well as the Gambia Revenue Authority should convene a meeting with the rice importers to see how best the reduction can reflect in the local market.
The current price of rice in the market is a nightmare for many households, making others to resort to buying cups of rice daily instead of the usual buying of a bag of rice.
Therefore, any effort to see to it that the reduction in the world market is reflected in the domestic market would be welcomed.
The sad fact in The Gambia is that any price that increases because of increment in the world market will hardly come down, when prices go down in the global market.
This issue should be looked into meticulously.
However, one of the surest ways to insulate us from issues in the world market with regard to rice is to be self-sufficient, that is, to produce enough locally.
It is great that the Gambia government is on that path, and we hope we reach there for it is for the good of all.
Meanwhile, we hope the good news from Asia reaches us in The Gambia.
“Without rice, even the cleverest housewife cannot cook.”