2008/2009 Year of Agriculture
Monday, April 21, 2008
Nature is the fairest of all creations. If only we accepted this fact, the world would be safe from the self-inflicted misery that engulfs it today. In the midst of abundance, our world is in turbulence, with hunger and malnutrition the order of the day. Current level of surge in food prices is as a result of negligence of our God-given wealth - the riches of the earth.
Man is supposed to live in this world until the end of time without having to suffer, because when Allah created our universe, He did so such that it would shelter a balanced life. Unfortunately, however, preoccupied with extra worldly vanities, we seem to have lost touch with the relevance of our stay in this world. If we allow this trend to continue, we shall never be forgiven by our succeeding generations.
That is why we at the Daily Observer here suggesting the declaration of 2008/2009: Year of Agriculture. This means that through the employment of state machineries, we transform all the energy we into productive agricultural ventures. If, as we largely believe (which is actually the case), that this country of ours is an agrarian one, why should we be moved by the realities of the looming international food crisis?
As we have seen during the tour of the country by the last two visiting West African leaders, the Gambia really has the potential to be a breadbasket; if not for the rest of the region, but for its own people. There is absolutely no reason why a country, as small as ours, should depend entirely on larger countries for our staple food, when we have all it takes to feed our selves. This is indeed a shame.
We have the chance to turn the tide, and we can do it by engaging everybody. Government officials could serve as role models in this. We are appealing to government to entrench it as legislation that all 40 Chiefdoms across the country cultivate their own piece of land, the size of Kafuta Farm.
This would certainly serve as a motivation for the common citizens, who can easily be persuaded into going into communal agriculture, in addition to their individual family farming. Kanilai, the home of the President, can serve as an exemplary scheme. We might as well consider diversifying our food varieties, as it has already been proven dangerous to depend on one variety of food.
(When the world's largest exporters of rice decided to cut down on their export ration, the reverberation was greatly felt in countries that depend totally on rice). It is also important to note that he that controls your stomach controls you destiny. We must therefore not allow our destiny to be in the hands of anybody other than ourselves. God willing, it will take us a very short period of time to change the tide if we really are committed to it. Gambian soil can do for a lot of varieties of crops.