Saturday, April 1

Minister Joof hails farmers, says farming shapes future

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

The Honourable Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment (MoTIE), accompanied by a high powered delegation recently visited various producing farms across the country including Mauro Farms, Pacharr in CRR, Bakaf Farms, Bajiram in Foni, Emkay Export and Agro Ltd in Foni Bondali wo are producing onions, potatoes, pepper, Nandu Farm, Foni Bondali Radville- Banana Farm among others. 

Minister Joof applauded the farmers for a job well done in “taking the risk to venture into farming. It is a guaranteed future when you do the right thing and get the support you required from us.” 

He congratulated the proprietor of Bakaf Farm who is a new entrant, saying “farming is viable” while encouraging others to continue employing the women as they are always willing and working hard. “Hopefully in future men too will emulate and join them.” 

He encouraged all the farmers to scale up their production “because all we want to see is for the import bill of this country to go down. And it can only happen when you produce and we can only guarantee a very reliable source of feeding the population if we are in charge or control of the source of production.” 

As they are producers of what is mostly imported to the country in large quantity, he said, venturing into farming is a bold step “and the government will be in this journey with you. We would do whatever we can to support you to scale up, increase your employment, and increase your income generation for yourselves and the country and ultimately we are looking forward to a level where you will take it out of the borders of this country. That has to start somewhere, as you have already started.” 

To the Gambian farmers, he said, they are role models for Gambians in Diaspora and The Gambia, adding producing homegrown food for the population to consume is the answer to the most frequently asked question about the high cost of commodities in the country.

 “We are paying much money to buy commodities because the commodities we use as foods in this country are coming from outside. We do not have control over any of the commodities. So those who produce the food, rice specifically those who transport and ship it to The Gambia are the ones that determine how much they sell their commodities because we are living in a country where the economy is liberal,” Minister Joof explained as the reason for the high cost of commodities. 

He added that buyers or importers cannot fix prices “because they are operating in a free market. The solution is that we need more producing farmers to be able to deal with the challenge of importing rice and having enough homegrown rice to feed the population.”