Legislators of the National Assembly Tuesday approved with unanimous vote the Statue of Islamic Solidarity for Food Security after a brief debate.
The issue of solidarity for food security was first conceived by the Foreign Ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Conakry, Republic of Guinea, in December 2013, during its 40th Session. The OIC Council of Foreign Ministers approved the matter in accordance with the Article 24 of the OIC Charter.
Tabling the Motion before lawmakers, the Minister of Agriculture, Ismaila Sanyanag, said the Statue seeks to address the major food security problems, widespread poverty, growing population and food shortage. He also outlined desertification and deforestation as well as salinity as all factors that needed to be address.
He told legislators that all these is needed under the utilisation of existing potential; thereby creating a collective platform to promote food security and agricultural development in a sustainable manner through the mobilisation of all available resources within their countries, exchange best practices and experiences, promotion of investment and transfer of appropriate technology.
“Every member state of the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) may become a member upon signing the Statue and the Islamic Republic of The Gambia was among the first 19 members of the OIC to sign the Statue,” he said.
The minister further outlined the objectives of the Statue, saying it seeks to provide expertise and the technical knowhow to member states on the various aspects of sustainable agriculture, rural development, food security biotechnology; including addressing the problems posed by desertification, deforestation, erosion and salinity as well as providing social safety nets.
He said that it also seeks to assess and monitor, in coordination with member states, the food security situation in order to determine and make necessary emergency and humanitarian aspect, including the creation of food security reserves.
Seconding the Motion, Hon. Njie Darboe, the NAM for Jarra West, urged that Agriculture should train it’s personnel sustainable development as well as technical knowhow in the bid to food security among member states of OIC.
Agriculture, he said, is the biggest Ministry in the county and that it should be given the budget it deserves.
The Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, Hon. Fatou Mbye, said that a nation cannot be independent without food self-sufficiency. “The promotion of this Statue is in tandem to our own vision,” she said.
She further spoke about the importance of research, which she said, could provide data that can be harnessed to address our own problems.
The Member for Sami, Hon. Ousman Njie, pointed out the significance of cotton farming and wanted to know whether it’s among government’s priorities and also whether funding has been sought for its revitalisation in the country.
Hon. Ebrima Solo Jammeh, the NAM for Foni Bintang, called for platform to food security and rural agriculture. He added that ratifying the Motion would effectively place The Gambia in line with the international standard.
by Bekai Njie