Exploiting our unexploited resources
Thursday, June 21, 2012
It is often said that Africa's development prospects rest, for the most part, on the hands of its own people. In history, there is not a single nation that has attained full development without the full utilisation of its own resources. Regretfully though, it has taken Africa ages to come to appreciate the fact that our locally available wherewithal is more than enough to transform our countries. The natural resources needed for development have never been the problem, nor has there been any shortage of human resources. The only problem is that, until recently, we lacked the wisdom to see that the continent was underexploited.
In The Gambia, for instance, the fishing industry has always been a potentially productive sector, yet it has barely been exploited. This is largely due to the reluctance on the part of many Gambians to tap the full potential of our fish-rich waters. The result has been that foreigners dominate the industry, and the resultant effect is that they dictate the course of our dietary habits.
Fish, being the most popular source of protein for Gambians (not based on any known research), by virtue of its availability, as compared to meat, forms a crucial part of meals prepared in Gambian households. For many more people, it is even popular during certain feasts; religious as well as social. Unfortunately, despite its abundance, there is a shortage during these feasts, because the foreign nationals we rely on have to go home to spend these special occasions with their families. This is all the more reason why Gambians should take ownership of this very important industry.
The government of The Gambia of course, is not relenting in its strive to ensure that Gambians are given the opportunity to run their own affairs. We have seen a number of undertakings that are geared towards this. The training of youths on fishing techniques, equipping of youth groups with fishing gargets, building of storage facilities and the recent intervention of FAO are all geared towards helping the young people of this country to make fishing a profitable enterprise.
As we always advise, it is up to the people to seize the opportunities created by government, and make good use of the chances made available to them. We once again call on the youth of the country to explore the fishing sector as it is as lucrative as all the other sectors.
Author: Daily Observer