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City of Banjul
Sunday, February 28, 2021

Vision 2016: Nation at work

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Yet, agriculture stands to be a sector without which life is doomed. Human beings under normal circumstances, depend exclusively on oxygen to survive, which is an agro-based product. The need to recognise these merits and prioritise the sector is eminent, yet deserving.  The need to accelerate national development where money used for food importation is invested to produce food is imperative.

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Cognisant of these facts, the Gambia government resorted to the initiation of ‘Vision 2016’ – a deadline for national food self-sufficiency. Interestingly, the vision is not an immediate call; it’s a sharper and more vigorous approach to the long call for ‘back to the land’ philosophy. The call has seen massive improvement in the cultivation sector, but the youths have hitherto been reluctant. The power house of the nation – the youths are the only people who can kindle and accelerate a radical force of development. For this reason, we need the massive participation of the youth folk to achieve this goal.  Unfortunately, this folk are bent on mass exodus for greener pastures. Should the trend continue, where are we headed?

The Gambia has rooted a reputation of peace and stability thanks to the environment created by its smiling people and government. With absolute security in all spheres of the nation, Gambians embrace peace. Resolved to maintain the enviable status quo, the government has put in place all peace-enhancement mechanisms. Well, is peace attainable in a poor and destitute society? Where poverty rules, conflict reigns. Thus, to attain absolute peace, hunger and poverty have to be addressed first. It is indeed difficult to effect any development in highly deprived societies. To address global crisis, poverty has to top the agenda. Isn’t The Gambia’s Vision 2016 food self-sufficiency initiative a support worthy course?

The Vision 2016 food self-sufficiency initiative is in its loudest voice the salvation of food crisis. At the core of administration stands a government with the principal aim of ensuring the absolute welfare of its citizens. No government wants to see its people in crisis, where poverty and destitution becomes emblems of its existence.  Such situation attracts temptation for aid, resulting in dependency.

The Gambia, being one of the smallest countries in the sub region is however fortunate to be endowed with a visionary, pragmatic, selfless and independent minded leader; whose country’s welfare tops his objectives. Thank you Mr President for this brilliant initiative, such, I called its type of the decade. 

Having realised the impact of basic food importation on the national economy; such an initiative could not have been more emancipative. Food importation has cost our national coffers a lot, which, to my opinion, is detrimental to our national development agenda. Why do we need to support this initiative? It’s absolute naivety to describe this initiative political. Well, why not even support politics-attributed goals that are of national interest and of course a salvation to all. Bracing up for food independence cannot be more worthy. This natural, life-sustaining, independence-enabler, vibrant sector needs to be explored. The President has led the way, we need to follow. 

The Gambia has until end of 2015 to prove to the world that it’s a state with a goal, an agenda, rather than one that relies on aid. I believe there is no room to relent; we are a nation of one people, with a common vision. It remains our sacred duty to fulfill the promises in our national anthem, we pledge our firm allegiance; our promise we renew.  

We have learnt of the struggles of the West during their industrial revolution. This massive revolution catapulted them to the centre stage of global socio-economic and technological advancement. It all started on the farms, when they resorted to recruiting laborers on their plantations. Freedom and independence has surpassed its literary meaning, we remain dependent unless we realise the value of independence and work to achieve it. The government of The Gambia has provided the support and of course promised to provide more to any aspirant. 

One’s humanity is questionable if he lacks the instinct of reciprocity. Do we sit and wait for what the government does for us? No, rather, let’s stand and toil for what we can do for our nation. In common sense, there isn’t any government that is extraordinary, they only remain representatives poised to work for our common good. A collective effort culminates in common good. If you cannot make it to the farm, bring the farm to yourself. Investors need to explore the agriculture sector to create a balance society. Where agriculture is neglected, Poverty flares up. It’s sarcastic when inequality is addressed and poverty is ignored. We will perhaps remain unequal and divided unless we address food crisis, thus eradicate poverty.

Is this trend a state of mind or a mere lack of sheer dedication to our national responsibilities? Development doors remain ajar for all. Do we take a minute to calculate the gains we will register in a food self-sufficient nation?  Perhaps if all funds used for food importation are diverted to other development sectors, then the economy will surely boom. Education, infrastructure, defence will all set for the zenith. It’s not fair that we are endowed with these natural resources, yet neglect them. When we opt for development, we should understand it’s not elusive, not a fantasy; development is pragmatism.  If we yield the will, we will reap the yield. Thumbs up to Gambian women!


Abdoulie Sey Jnr is the author of ‘The July 22nd Revolution-20 Years On!’ poem. He works at the Gambia Radio and Television Services.


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