May 23, 2008, 4:52 AM
Agriculture is important to the development of any nation including The Gambia. The sector accounts for a greater percent of the country’s GDP.
Young people are therefore pivotal in this curtailed sector of our economy hence they are physically active.
Development of the country cannot be achieved when young people remain inactive towards agriculture.
The Ministry of Youth and Sport seeks to encourage youth participation in the sector by initiativing district youth farms. This effort will require changing the negative perceptions youth have in agriculture; that is farmers, from the uneducated, unskilled, physical labourers with extremely low economic returns are the ones who go back to the land.
Agriculture requires the active involvement of all section of our community irrespective of social status. The sector offers greater opportunities such as food, employment and financial gains for individual farmers and also provides foreign exchange for government.
I firmly believe that if youth are given all what they need and they consent to go back to the land in large numbers this country can indeed feed itself.
However, it is high time we initiated or introduced new technologies and knowledge to youngsters that will lead to diversified and modern farming practices.
When this happen, it will increase employment for young people and also hopefully reduce the phenomenon of rural-urban migration.
This country will hardly feed itself much more to export, if young people who are able, energetic and strong do not take agriculture seriously.
The old men and women who are left in the rural areas cannot make us achieve food self-sufficiency. I therefore, encourage all youth from across the country to consider doing something to boost agriculture.
The country has all it takes in terms of arable farm land and fresh water to grow more food for both domestic consumption and export.
The only thing needed is the motivation and change of attitude on the part of young persons.
I command the government’s policy on agriculture and national efforts meant to boost agriculture, while calling for a more encouragement to attract youth into this important sector.
Young people from the rural areas who do come to the cities for jobs should consider returning back to their villages and help their weak and old parents in their farming activities. Agriculture is extremely important for the development of The Gambia.
Now that it has started to rain, this is the best time for that!