By Omar Tunkara
The Gambia Farmers’ Union (GFU) Friday held a meeting with President Adama Barrow over their plight as the rainy season starts in the country.
The meeting, facilitated by Pa Nderry Touray of Star FM radio, was centered around challenges facing Gambian farmers, especially the issue of fertilizer. It was the first time the union met a sitting president.
Speaking to journalists shortly after the meeting, the minister of agriculture, Dr Demba Sabally, assured the farmers of the president’s commitment to their plights.
He said the president’s decision to meet the farmers clearly demonstrates how much he values them as key players in the country’s economy.
Minister Sabally said the government is committed to ensuring that Gambian farmers receive the necessary support. “This is why the government has decided to spend millions of dalasi this year to ensure that the price of fertiliser is affordable,” he said.
He said the government spent D3,000 on each bag and if they were going to resell to make profit, the farmers would not have been able to afford it.
He advised the farmers to ensure that the fertiliser doesn’t go beyond Gambian borders and that they should sell their groundnut to the GGC.
The president of the Gambia Farmers’ Union, Alhagie Ceesay, said the country cannot realise its development without the farming community. “We should all join hands to support the farming community so that we would be able to cut the importation of food,” he said. Ceesay commended President Barrow for his stand towards supporting Gambian farmers.
“This is a good start for us and the government to break all the barriers that were existing between us. We believe it is only through a dialogue like this that the government will be able to know what our challenges are and prosper means to address them,” he said.
Modou Cham, a farmer from Farafenni, expressed delight over the president’s decision to accept to meet them. He commended the government for reducing the price of fertilizer.
He said the president has assured them that he has the intention to start giving farmers fertilizer free of charge in the future.