Pursuing dialogue with farmers
Thursday, May 31, 2012
A two-day national farmers’ conference will wrap-up today in
Janjangbureh. The forum, an initiative of the Gambian leader, His Excellency
Sheikh Professor Alhaji Yahya Jammeh is meant to enhance the policy dialogue
between government and farmers with a view to achieve the maximum out of our
agriculture and natural resources sector.
The forum, which is the first of its kind to be staged
between policymakers and farmers in the country, is perhaps the highest
manifestation of the government’s commitment to achieve food self-sufficiency
for the nation. It cannot be argued otherwise that in spite the fact that our
farming community is given most of the equipment to execute their trade,
dialogue among stakeholders in agriculture particularly farmers is the most
significant of all developments. The forum no doubt has for the first time
given farmers the opportunity to appreciate government’s efforts and as well
relay to the stakeholders the constraints hampering the realisation of their
We cannot therefore help but commend the leadership for the
initiative and the Ministry of Agriculture. The organised nature of the first
day of the conference and its interactive character is an indication that they
are putting the ministry at par with the level envisaged by the president, who
himself regardless of social status is the grand patron of farming in the
The timing of the forum is of course accurate, the past cropping season was a total failure and we are just at the threshold of another farming season. Bringing farmers and policymakers together to discuss and formulate a way forward to ensure efficiency in farming in The Gambia is indeed worthy.
Much more, it is evident that over the past two decades, the government of The Gambia has been pursuing overarching priorities of sustainable human development and the quality of living standards of the people of The Gambia. A number of strategies it established to address these priorities are in various stages of implementation, among them Vision 2020 that aims at putting the country on the medium income bracket.
There are also targets for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly Goal 1 (halving hunger by 2015); Poverty Reduction Strategies that would raise the living standards of the people, especially self-reliant food security, and presently, the PAGE, a programme to consolidate the achievements of past strategies for economic development, and significantly increase by 2015 the welfare of The Gambia’s population, through accelerated and sustained economic growth and employment.
Whilst we call of the authorities and stakeholders concerned to ensure that the resolutions that emerge from the conference are not allowed to gather dust on shelves, we also call on the farmers to follow-up the conference with action in the fields. The struggle against food insecurity requires collective efforts and a forum like this should be seen as the beginning of a new beginning in that drive.
Author: Daily Observer