#Editorial

Rural urban drift affects farming in Gambia!

Jul 20, 2022, 10:54 AM

Youth are the active segment in any progressive society. Therefore, engaging them in agriculture is another available move in ensuring growth and strengthening local food systems.

Statistics revealed that the world today hosts a massive population of 1.2 billion young people between the ages of 15 and 24 — and that number continues to rise.

In The Gambia, the movement of people mainly youth towards the kombos in search of skills and employment and other social amenities is seriously hampering farming in rural Gambia. The situation is even compounded by irregular migration these past years, where numbers leave their settlements with the quest of starting new lives in the West. Many suffered along the journey, which normally takes through the hot weather in the Sahara Desert and through the Mediterranean high seas.

Even though most farms in rural Gambia are cultivated by manpower, the presence of people helps a great deal in the overall production. Let's bear in mind that youths are the most energetic and active portion in any society.

It is true that most of these youth made it along the way, but many others continue to suffer in isolation and stress and in most cases become a burden to the society.
Not everybody would wear a suit and tie and sit in an office. Even in the most developed countries, there are people whose work is to produce food for the public.

Despite the prevalence of agriculture — the World Bank states 80% of the world’s rural poor earn a living through farming, and the sector employs half the rural population of the entire continent of Africa — most smallholder farmers live in poverty, operating crop and livestock farms that aren’t as productive as they could be and missing out on critical opportunities to contribute to their larger food systems.

According to the FAO 2021 report, the unemployment rate for youth is currently three times that of adults in all regions of the world. It further states that in Africa especially, which boasts the globe’s youngest population, two-thirds of youth are unemployed or working in vulnerable, low-paying positions.

Agriculture is the backbone of the economy in many places, totaling 25% or more of GDP in several developing countries.

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