Gambia: Developing Irrigation Agriculture

06.08.2013

Agriculture is key to sustaining any national economy. It is the perfect channel to food security and food self-sufficiency. Agriculture is the foundation upon which all other developments are built.

It happens that a major goal of government is to transform this country into a food self-sufficient nation. This is because the leadership has realised that development cannot be achieved if we continue to depend on outsiders to feed us. President Jammeh's strong desire to put our food self-sufficiency drive into its proper context cannot be overemphasised. The back-to-the-land initiative and recent efforts at irrigation agriculture are indications that the leadership is still on the path to sustaining our food production capacity. What is more important is that the people, with the help of the national policies, are willing to return to farming in order to feed not only the family but the nation at large. In fact, the step taken by President Jammeh to embark on massive road and bridge constructions is meant to facilitate that needed motivation and ease in linking production centres and the markets. It also strengthens the back-to-the-land call. For instance, the bridging of the SunkulayKunda River is facilitating the smooth and timely movement of people and goods, particularly for farming sections. The Rural Electrification Project on the other hand will restore the eroding interest, and overturn the general ill will against agri-business and rural investment in general. Agriculture cannot go forward without the appropriate amenities such as a proper flow of electricity. A viable large-scale agricultural venture expedites the development process by ensuring not only food self-sufficiency but also raising the income level of the people and earning the country growth in its GDP, GNP and foreign exchange reserves through international trade. It is therefore incumbent on the citizenry to respond to the back-to-the-land call.



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