Good Morning Mr President: Aflatoxin, education 

Jul 10, 2023, 11:13 AM

Mr President, we have entered the rainy season and we anticipate it to be a productive season.

We welcome your government's commitment to reducing the fertilizer prices for this year and we congratulate you for the great gesture but we want to bring to your attention the continual presence of aflatoxin in our cereals. If nothing is done about it, the country will continue to lose significantly in trade.

Mr President, Gambia's groundnuts have been banned to be traded in Europe and, as a result, are being exported to other countries, where it is said to be used for birds and animal feed.

Mr President, Europe is a high-income market and if we are able to export to Europe as we used to in the past, we will receive good export more than what we are receiving currently. This can only be achieved if we have zero aflatoxins in our groundnuts and other cereals.

Not only that our groundnuts depreciate in the world market because of aflatoxin but also have health threats as stated by many international bodies and health experts. Cereals contaminated with aflatoxin are reported as not fit for human consumption and can cause cancer and more illnesses.

Mr President, there could be an alternative to fight the aflatoxin in our country as in many other countries. Your government should introduce aflasafe, a bio-production that can mitigate the aflatoxin in our groundnuts. This aflasafe was once applied between 2013 and 2014 and it yielded an excellent significant result.

If aflasafe is continued to be used, then we will return to the more lucrative market and avoid the risk of citizens getting cancer or other illnesses.

Mr President, our neighbours, Senegal, has lots of aflasafe in store that can be purchased for our farmers and it will significantly help in boosting production and productivity for this season and the coming ones.

Mr President, regarding education, the Gambia Teachers' Union on 6 July 2023 convened a meeting where they outlined the amount or arrears of over D73 million that the government should give to the schools for the School Improvement Grant for the year 2022/2023. 

It is so sad that it is becoming a routine that teachers must go on strike before their complaints are negotiated or taken care of.

Mr President, as the saying goes, education is the key to success. Your government should do everything possible to improve the education system in The Gambia if you really want to succeed in your development programmes.

The education system is lacking behind with many schools not even having the necessary equipment to make the learning environment conducive. 

Many classrooms are overloaded whilst some don't even have proper furniture for the children to use. Teachers are leaving the teaching field because of one reason or another. 

Finally Mr President, we are always taught in school that learning is better than silver and gold; so it is essential that your government consider or address the concerns of the schools and plight of teachers in the country. Education should be a priority to the government and not a choice. It is important to note that education is part of the foundation of all progress and growth, both as an individual and as a society.


Good day!