By Yunus S Saliu
Babucarr Ousmaila Joof, Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment (MoTIE) has disclosed that when it comes to investment, “food commodity, in this country, can only be controlled and moderated by ourselves if we could control the source of production.”
The Minister and delegates currently on a nationwide tour to the borders and industrial companies disclosed this after a visit to three large produce farms namely Mak Food in Kafuta, Bakaf Farms, Bajiram, Foni, and Emkay Export and Agro Ltd in Foni Bondali. These farms are producing onions, potatoes, pepper, and so on.
The Minister was accompanied on the tour by a high-power delegation and he as well had a brief meeting with the management of each of these farms.
Hon Babucar Ousmaila Joof noted that investment in such farms requires a lot of planning and energy but disclosed that the Ministry has given support to a couple of Gambians and non-Gambians to invest in food production,
“That’s one way to reduce the food import basket and that’s one way too to empower Gambia people through the creation of employment generation, payment of taxes. Because our long-term desire goal as a ministry is to, not to totally, eliminate the import of onions and vegetables,” he stated.
But, he explained, “What we want is for the domestic consumption to depend on local production and guarantee that is available all the time and moderated the prices if they provide enough supply for the local consumers because the long-term goal is for these farms to escalate this to scale up and increase their production.”
As the most common challenge of these farms is energy and labour, Minister Joof has revealed an intention to engage the relevant authorities, NAWEC to be précised as it is the institution responsible for the grade so they can see what incentive they can offer based on the need to support local investment.
More so, he said the Department of Labour under his Ministry is coming up with an initiative to create a job center where people can be able to match skills with requirements.