Jammeh deplores failure of numerous agric projects

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Jammeh deplores failure of numerous agric projects
- as tour progresses


23rd April 2014

The Gambian leader, His Excellency the President, Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya AJJ Jammeh has decried the failure of numerous agriculture projects which apparently cost government huge amount of funds. He was speaking in Jangjangbureh, in the Central River Region on Wednesday, day 7 of the presidential dialogue with the people tour.

23


“If you visit most of our projects sites since 1994, lions can hide there because they are surrounded by grasses” 

 

 

23a

 As a way of solving the project sustainability crisis in the country, the President announced of government’s plan to initiate a National Food Security Corporation (NFSC). This he noted would be anchored on the National Vision 2016, which will be given the mandate to run all the projects of the 2016 vision.

“If you are developing 1000 hectares, the NFSC will take the 500 hectares and other five hundred will be given to you”.

 

He once again commended the women for their hard work and dedication to the back to the land call, saying that most agricultural projects that still exist since 1994 are in the hands of women.

23b 

“Today I saw women who can be my grandmothers working at the farms. This prompted the Agriculture Minister to ask, ‘if these women are gone who will take over from them?’”

The President went on:

“If I give 500 hectares to the women, 499 hectares will be productive but if I give the same 500 to the men, the 499 will be useless”.

 

 

23cHe however expressed his dissatisfaction at the level of production in the Pacharr rice field, blaming it on the poor attitude of some farmers not taking care of the facilities provided.The Gambian leader went on to emphasise the potential of CRR to feed the world due to its vast fertile lands for rice production.

President Jammeh took the opportunity to re-launch warning to the local authorities – alkalolu, chiefs and governors to avert land disputes, adding that whoever has land they cannot cultivate, they should give it to those who can cultivate it.

 

“Desist from saying my grandparents are the owners of the land and I am the descendant,” he added, stressing that that would not be tolerated.

 

Momodou Sabally, Secretary General, Minister of Presidential Affairs and the Civil Service pointed to the gathering that this was not a political rally; rather a mission to express a vision that expects the country to feed itself. Therefore, he said everybody has a stake in it. He however lamented that the President spent lot of money, buying implements like tractors but most of which were not taken care of.

23e        23f

For the Minister of Agriculture, Solomon Owens, the viability and significance of Gambia’s rice self sufficiency project is manifested by the adoption of the same vision by two countries who want to stop importing rice by 2018.

Minister Owens echoed President Jammeh’s statements that dependence on imported food increases the risk of disease infections; hence the need to work concertedly towards the attainment of food self sufficiency.

“Is not safe to depend entirely on someone to feed you; what of if they stop exporting their rice?”.

The Minister then assured of his ministry’s resolve to mechanise agriculture in the country.

Report by Madiba Sillah and Aji Fatou Jammeh
Courtesy of Department of Information Services

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