By Mustapha Darboe
Agriculture minister, Omar Jallow, has revealed that the government intends to make good its promise to provide fertilizer to the farmers at affordable prices. Speaking to The Standard, Minister Jallow first admitted that the current price at which government proposed to sell fertilizer is too expensive to average Gambian farmer.
“But we intend to make good on our promises. We are aware of the needs to reduce the current price of fertilizer because not many famers can afford fertilizer that cost D950 per bag,” Jallow said in an interview at his Pipeline residence.
He added: “We are going tohave support from the Chinese government in the area of fertilizer and I will have discussions with the President and finance minister on how we can make fertilizer accessible and affordable.”
Minister Jallow further revealed that government currently has 5000 tons of fertilizer ready for distribution but about that will not be enough and some 12 tons more will be needed to satisfy the entire farming population.
Jallow also disclosed that his ministry is working on efforts to revive cotton production in the country as part of efforts to diversify agricultural production.
“We are working on possibilities of diversifying Gambia’s agriculture and one of the things we will be looking into is to revive cotton production in this country. It used to be a good agricultural product in Gambia and we export it,” he argued.
He said the government is also working on encouraging private sector investment in agriculture since about 40% of Gambia’s arable land remains unused.