By Omar Bah
The United Democratic Party leader, Ousainu Darboe has said a UDP government will commit 10% of the country’s budget to its agricultural transformative agenda, designed to elevate farmers from abject poverty.
Through CAADP, African governments are expected to increase investment level in agriculture by allocating at least 10% of national budgets to agriculture and rural development, and to achieve agricultural growth rates of at least 6% per annum.
The UDP has started popularising its Five-Point Agenda Transformative Manifesto by setting up different committees to deal with specific areas of the manifesto.
The Fulladu West NAM, Sanna K Jawara coordinates a six-man team of experts tasked to popularize the party’s policy on agriculture, nutrition and food security. The agriculture policy is part of the party’s top priorities in their first term in office.
Addressing a rally in Saruja organized by NAM Jawara to popularize the party’s agric policy, Darboe said: “I want to assure you that a UDP government will commit 10% of the country’s budget to agriculture that will focus on all farming aspects.”
Darboe reechoed former President Jawara’s statement in 1965 that “Gambia’s economic sustainability depends highly on agriculture”.
He said the country since attaining independence has been trying to be food self-sufficient and stop relying on foreign aid without success.
“This was why Jahally Pacharr was established and at the time, rice farmers used to get 100 bags per hectare but today only few of them will have 10 bags from one hectare. They said back to the land but that back to the land turned to be going to Kanilai to work for Yahya Jammeh.
“It was all about who can produce more rice for Jammeh instead of thinking how to feed ourselves and places like Jahally Pacharr that were created for people to make their living from were neglected by the government. They focused on Sifoe and Kanilai farms. They took all the good materials to Jammeh’s farms even the people of Foni turned to laborers of Jammeh to the detriment of Jahally Pacharr,” he said.
However, Darboe argued that a UDP government will revamp Jahally Pacharr and all standard rice fields in the country.
“A UDP government will not be inept. Your fertilizer would not be stolen and sold out to Senegal. Farmers would be taken care of; we will be responsive to your plight. Agricultural development is going to be top on our agenda,” said Darboe.
He said there are plans to get farmers the necessary materials and seeds that will help them regain their old glory days to feed this country.
“We will also create space for herders to be able to rear their animals. But all these cannot happen if you don’t vote for the UDP,” he said.
While calling on his supporters to come out on Election Day and vote for him, Darboe noted that his victory is guaranteed.
“If you want a game-changer, you should come out on election day and vote for me. Even though our victory is unstoppable, that shouldn’t stop you from voting. Go out and vote for the UDP flag bearer, and that would be me,” Darboe remarked.