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City of Banjul
Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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Towards food self-sufficiency

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As the cost of living rises and the economic conditions bite, the time has come for the people of The Gambia to seek out ways to alleviate the difficulties brought about by food insufficiency. There is no doubt that when a people depend entirely on imported food, any disruptions in any part of the world can affect them adversely.

This is what was observed when war broke out in Ukraine and sea transport almost came to a halt. The transportation of grains was reduced to a level where it was no longer possible to feed the world. Climate change was another challenge as water levels in the Panama Canal became so low that ships could not pass.

Earlier, the corona virus pandemic brought about untold suffering not only in the area of health but also food as most transportation means were shut down to prevent the spread of the dreaded virus to most parts of the world. This also taught, or should have taught, nations that they cannot depend on import for their daily consumption of food.

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The question now arises as to what should be, or can be, done to ensure that these disasters, when they strike, will not affect the food supply as badly as they had in the highlighted disruptions. There is little or no doubt that these occurrences are bound to happen again at one place or the other.

It is important to note that here in The Gambia; there is enough land, water and a good climatic condition to enable the people cultivate enough food such that the dependence on imported food is reduced to a minimum, if not entirely halted. That is something which everyone should work on so that, not only will The Gambia produce enough food for herself, but also export it to other countries in order to increase foreign revenue. 

It is time that the Government of The Gambia spearhead a holistic campaign to make the people, especially the youth, venture into agriculture so that this dependence can be reduced. The cultivation of rice is so beneficial that it can change the fortunes of not only individual Gambians but that of the nation as a whole.

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Horticulture is another area which could be used to boost the earning power of the people while at the same time contributing immensely to the health of the people and the nation at large.

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