It has long been said, and rightly so, that agriculture is the backbone of the Gambian economy. It is undoubtedly the biggest employer as majority of the people, especially in the rural areas, are engaged in agriculture. It is the food basket of the country, as it were.
A good number of the people who are engaged in agriculture practice subsistence farming. The mantra of ‘eat what you grow’ should be promoted not only as rhetoric but practical measures should be taken to make it a reality. This is what the country needs now.
However, in the minds of many people, once you say agriculture they only think of groundnuts, coos, maize and the like. This trend is gradually changing as many people seem to have gone into horticulture nowadays. What engenders a lot of hope is the fact that many who now venture into this are the youths.
Another area the youth of the country are now interested in is poultry farming and animal husbandry. This is very promising as it has multiple benefits for both the individuals engaged in it and the country as a whole. It is a means of employment for many who would otherwise have been unemployed.
Besides, the fact that it provides food locally, perhaps cheaper as well, is an added advantage. There are many who have invested heavily in this sector and have now become employers instead of employees. Thus, it goes to help the state in the sense that more young people are now gainfully employed and will take care of their needs and pay taxes to the State.
Perhaps it is time to call on the Government of the Gambia to, through the Ministry of Agriculture, support these young people who are ready to work in the sector. With little support from the state, these young people can progress into great entrepreneurs and encourage others to venture into agriculture as well.