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Rice farmers leader tells president to replace agric minister

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By Amadou Jadama

The president of the Rice Farmers Association in the North Bank Region who is also a representative at the National Farmers Platform of The Gambia has asked President Barrow to remove Demba Sabally as minister of agriculture and replace him with “a competent person who knows agriculture and can empathise with the plight of Gambian farmers”. 

Sambou Dampha told The Standard yesterday that through his actions and policy initiatives, Minister Sabally has demonstrated that he does not know his onions when it comes to agriculture.

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Asked what those actions and policy initiatives are, Dampha replied: “Everything. Dr Demba Sabally’s appointment as the minister of agriculture is a mockery of us the farmers. Since he came into office, he has not brought any development and is instead busy with politics. His appointment was purely political. I want to tell the president and his government that like they appointed a lawyer as attorney general and a doctor as minister of health, they should also appoint an agric scientist as minister of agriculture. Given the importance of the sector, we should have someone there who has a good knowledge of agriculture.”

Dampha said there are thousands of competent and qualified Gambians the president can choose from. “We the farmers,  have no hope in Demba Sabally because he doesn’t know anything about agriculture. Let President Barrow remove him and replace him with someone who has knowledge of agriculture. If Dr Sabally continues to be minister of agriculture, sooner than later, agriculture will be completely dead in this country, “he claimed.

Asked whether the reduction in the price of fertiliser was not a good initiative championed by Minister Sabally, Dampha retorted: “The price of fertiliser is D1,150 as announced by the government. This is very expensive considering the hardship in the country. The government should reduce it to D700 as it was before.”   

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