By Mustapha Jarju
The Gambia President, His Excellency Adama Barrow has claimed that for The Gambia to have enough food to eat, and export, there is a need for the transformation of the agriculture sector or agri-business for subsistence farming to boost the country’s GDP. “That is a wake-up call to the Gambia because there is a food crisis all over the world and prices have increased and food security is at the highest level,” Barrow said.
The Gambia has arable and fertile land for agriculture with all that the country remains at the normal traditional way of farming, “now our direction is to change that direction so that people can take agriculture as a business,” said President Barrow.
HE Barrow made this remark in an exclusive interview with the Voice of America (VOA), during his visit to the United States for the UN General Assembly 2022. The stable food in The Gambia is rice which about 90% of the country depends on for their daily survival.
With that high dependency ratio, the Gambia produces only 15% of rice and import about 85% of which can be grown in the country internally with enough cultivation.
“The reason why we are only cultivating 15% is that people do farm only in 3 to for months of the rainy season and that’s it, now we are going further to industrialize, which need infrastructure in place and that is constructing roads and making irrigation systems,” he stated.
Speaking on the Country’s transportation system Barrow said, his government constructed about seven hundred and fifty (750) kilometres of road within 5 years of his leadership with an average of one hundred and fifty (150) kilometres of road constructed in a year, he said.
“In other areas, I did a 50 kilometres road which can take you a minimum of 2:30 to 3hours drive to get to the nearby town but after this infrastructural development, it takes you a maximum of 30 minutes, so that makes a huge change in people’s lives,” he disclosed.