Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Standard, Colley who is also APRC national mobiliser, said: “Food security is an African agenda today and has assumed increased importance at the level of the African Union for various heads of states and government. For me, I will not only put emphasis on the importance of food security in Africa but also its attendant impact. Africa is endowed with the land and other resources necessary to increase local food production. President Jammeh is the man of the moment because of his efforts geared towards achieving food security in Africa. In fact, before the pronouncement of Vision 2016 which is just a national target, the president has long been an advocate of African independence in which countries should be able to feed themselves and not depend on foreign food. Since coming to power in 1994, he has been very outspoken in calling for food self-sufficiency in The Gambia and now this is being replicated throughout Africa.
“For Gambians, much of the emphasis has now been placed on 2016 which is our targeted time to achieve food self-sufficiency. Therefore, it is critical for the people to change their attitudes. The ‘back to the land’ call has been made since the start of the July 22nd Revolution. President Jammeh has championed this himself and whenever he takes his leave, he goes to Kanilai to work on his farms. Rice self-sufficiency is achievable because during the time of our forefathers, they were able to feed themselves with locally grown rice. They did not depend on foreign food like we do today and this is what the president has been trying to end.
Mayor Colley said government has seen the need to boost local production by investing in mechanised agriculture.
“There are those who are doubtful and critical of this endeavour but I think we should work together as Gambians to make Vision 2016 realistic. What is wrong with someone saying that we should help ourselves by feeding ourselves from what we grow and not depend on foreign food? Why should that be critical for somebody else to support? I believe the majority of Gambians love President Jammeh because of his tireless efforts to ensure that we are not enslaved twice. However, some people will always be out there to oppose even if you propose good things to them. It has to be said that we are on course to achieve food self-sufficiency under President Jammeh.”]]>