#Editorial

Let’s make best use of Jahally Pacharr rice fields!

Jun 21, 2022, 10:58 AM

It is a well-known fact that agriculture is the bedrock on which all other development sits on. Countries that were able to make significant gains in their development pursuit, invested heavily in their agric sector.

Experts revealed that most developing countries are currently experiencing environmental threats from climate change, environmental degradation to  biodiversity reduction and the list goes on.

While populations swell across Africa, food shortage is posing serious challenges to nations especially those who entirely depend on foreign importation. The Gambia belongs to such groups, which immediately feels the pinch where there are tensions around the globe. The Russia-Ukraine conflict is a case in point.

This conflict has not only skyrocketed market food prices but taught smaller nations bitter lessons. There is an adage which was commonly used during the former regime is –‘Eat what you grow and Grow what you Eat.’

This is the only method we can end importation of food into the country. In developing countries, the livelihood of most people derives from agriculture, especially small-scale farming.

By stimulating investments and supporting innovation in this sector, we foster inclusive growth and help our partner countries better feed their population, while protecting their natural resources.

It is in the news that President Barrow recently had audience with Donald Brown, Associate Vice President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) at the State House in Banjul. 

Brown was in Banjul to meet with partners in the agriculture sector. IFAD has numerous life-changing projects in The Gambia notably; ROOTS value chain project, which aims to help increase food production in the country and ensure national food security in the long run.

In most developing countries like The Gambia, the livelihood of most people derives from agriculture, especially small-scale farming. Therefore, investing and supporting innovation in this sector would greatly bolster inclusive growth and help the country better feed its population, while protecting the country’s natural resources.

The recent impact of the war in Ukraine has increased global food insecurity. This is even seen in the sky rocketing of market food prices especially on grains and other commodities.

Therefore, we have to adapt to new methods of producing food to our populace. The Gambia cannot continue to depend on other nations for its food needs.

The timely availability of food is also vital in maintaining national security.

The country could make best use of its fertile land in Jahally-Pacharr, which used to be a thriving rice producing area.

Government has to step up and make the best use of this area and ensure availability of fertilizer to boost crop production. We just need Agric savvy engineers to make this vision an achievable one.

Around the globe, governments encourage public private partnership by encouraging more private investors to invest in the agriculture sector. Thus, we expect our government to embrace such an initiative. Together we can end foreign importation of food into the country.

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