Hunger and poverty eradication are directly linked to economic growth and the Presidential declaration to eradicate the threat in the country is a cause for celebration but hardly a surprise. There have always been the positive signs that The Gambia under the leadership of Professor Jammeh is edging closer to totally eradicating the threats with the numerous accolades won in the last two years alone, though the fight began more than two decades ago.
Within a seven-month period between November 2014 and June 2015, The Gambia had received an FAO award in recognition of the country’s efforts in reducing malnutrition and undernourishment to less than 5% and the MDG 1c target of reducing the prevalence of undernourishment. The Gambia had reduced the prevalence of undernourishment from 13.3% in 1990-92 to 6% in 2012-2014; at a time when the proportion of undernourishment in the world population stands at 11.3% and in Africa at 20.5%. That award came hot on the heels of an African Union award recognising the country’s attainment of MDG 9 – gaining access to clean and drinkable water within fifteen minutes’ walk.
These prestigious awards were received based on the consistent policies of the leadership of the July 22nd Revolution in every sector of our economic development but more so the agric sector, which is the biggest employer of Gambians (70%), and also the mainstay of the Gambian economy, contributing almost 30% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The leadership’s argument is anchored on the fact this sector is the single biggest area with enormous potential to put hunger at bay. The government has been consistent with its policy towards agriculture, and over the years, it has crafted many programmes to kick hunger out. Such programmes include: Operation Feed Yourself; Back to The Land, Vision 2016 food self-sufficiency agenda and the most recent Gambia is Green Initiative.
The onus now lies with Gambians to brace up for the moment and take advantages of the life-changing opportunities that come with the eradication of hunger and poverty. These are indeed exciting times to be a Gambian.