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Sunday, October 1, 2023

Food security and self sufficiency


The editorials of The Standard Newspaper over the past months have been part of chorus supporting and amplifying the call by ‘The Farmer President’ for the realisation of food security by enhancing agriculture and supporting home-based industries. Yahya Jammeh should be commended by all for championing the common African will towards its drive for self-sufficiency.


The challenge of the African continent in this epoch of our story as an independent entity from colonialism has been the problem of hunger and food security. Statistics predict that nearly 240 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, or one person in every four, lack adequate food for a healthy and active life, and record food prices and drought are pushing more people into poverty and hunger. 


The irony however is that being that Africa has the capacity to feed itself yet it continues to wallow in hunger and undernourishment. Experts are increasingly warning of population growth and how this will severely affect sub-Saharan Africa when it comes to food and clean water.


To achieve food security for Africa as the president mentioned in his speech at the African Union summit in Malabo, is to enhance agricultural production by creating a continental bank to give vital financial muscle to the whole enterprise. It’s true that when left to their own devices as has been happening all these past years, the yields of African farmers will not profitable enough. The departing point will be no less than government and stakeholders at all levels investing heavily in the agricultural sector.


Free-for-all ‘globalisation’ is often times not in the best interest of many developing nations. The so called liberal laws promulgated by the Western powers only negate the position of the lesser developed countries. With corporations running all the businesses that lie at the base of the human need, the majority of the world hunger problem is artificial and a product of corporate greed. 


So while we address issues such as this, we should be wise as to what policies are in place. Global capitalism is the major cause of the imbalance that exists at almost all sectors concerning the distribution of the basic needs of humanity. It has become a nightmare that only benefits the needs of the wealthy few and impoverishes the dispossessed majority of the earth. So if Africa and by extension the entire third world, have to be liberated from economic imperialism and the so-called foreign aid, then we must revisit and revitalise our own hom- based industries. 


While we consider the continent we should also remember that at home here in the Gambia, the population is growing exponentially and the needs and wants of the people are commensurably increasing. 


We have the capacity to feed ourselves and we have the means to even export to neighbouring countries.  The political will is there, what is needed is the investment and the dedication. We should mentally liberate ourselves from the false notion that the best always comes from outside.  This is the call of our times – to ensure that the generations that are coming up, will grow in a society that is healthy and self-sufficient. It’s not the duty of the government alone but every citizen, nay every resident, of the land.


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