Jun 18, 2020, 11:12 AM
There is a popular quote which says that volunteers do not necessarily have the time, they just have the heart.
Accounting for 30 percent of the Gambia’s GDP, it is the second largest sector in the economy, employing about 44 percent of the country’s active work force.
With a population of approximately 2 million people, this sector if wisely utilized could end importation of rice and other food commodities.
Well, there is high risk of hunger pandemic as coronavirus set to double acute hunger by end of 2020, according to new figures from WFP. This latest figures indicate additional 130 million lives and livelihoods will be at risk.
Last Wednesday at a press confab held at McCarthy Square, the vice president, Dr. Isatou Touray sounded the alarm that with the covid-19 pandemic blowing the ambers of despair, surging unemployment and joblessness, thousands of families in the country could be exposed to threats of poverty and hunger.
These news is not only petrifying but disturbing looking at the poverty level in the country.
We all know that good nutritional security is the foundations of a decent life and without it, may have a dire consequence on lives and livelihoods.
It is high time government look inroads as a way to finding to find long-term solutions to our food insecurity. The Gambia is blessed with abundant arable land that supports agricultural development. We just need to revamp and tapped our existing potentials in the area of irrigation to boost the livelihoods of not only farmers but even vulnerable communities, who are more susceptible to poverty and food insecurity.
In the past, most rural communities depend wholly on produce derived from local rice fields. Those are glorious days when Jahally and Pacharr rice fields were active in large scale agriculture production both dry and wet seasons.
Government needs to increase its funding to develop sustainable food systems that can withstand shocks such as an economic crisis or disease pandemic that cause economic paralysis.
As vice president stated, human cost of food crisis in times of emergencies could be enormous, and if the current situation is left unchecked, it could further deepen the poverty and food insecurity situation of the country.
We must therefore transform and embrace sound agricultural policies such as innovative marketing and distribution.
This, many experts believe is one of surest means of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger and fulfilling our development aspiration as a sovereign state.
Mr. President, we would like to congratulate the entire Muslim Ummah on the feast of ‘Koriteh.’ May Allah accept our fasting and grant our prayers.
Mr. President, any nation whose civil service is affected by chronic deficiencies like the one's observed within our own country from 1994 to 2020 calls for a secretary general who would spare no effort for anyone as many of those occupying portfolios leave so much to be desired in service delivery.
Mr. President, if we want to have effective productivity in civil service, we must have continuity in the system.
COVID-19 has been slowly creeping into our communities. As we seek to ensure our families’ health and safety, to many people, food has never seemed so important, both as a source of nutrition and, for many, of comfort. The question is whether, as economic disruption continues, we can stave off a pandemic-related food crisis.
In the wake up of the fast spreading nature of the global pandemic, covid-19 has posed difficult challenge to not only nations around the globe but even local dwellers in far flung communities of Gambia. Due to its worrying nature, it thus requires wisdom and mutual understanding as we battle through it.