“If you are to export you have to grow all-year-round”
Rice production for self sufficiency has been the central theme of this year’s ongoing Dialogue with the people tour and the President of the Republic has once again emphasised the need to grow all-year-round in order to produce enough for feeding and export.
He was speaking during a visit to an over 1000-hectare rice field in the village of Jakoto, bordered to the North by Dankunku and South by Jesedi in the Central River Region.
It was day six of the Dialogue tour, and it was all farm visits. The day’s tour took the presidential entourage to the villages of Jakoto, Niamina Dankunku and Janjangbureh.
The experts on tour observed that the 2.5x 8km Jakoto rice farm has a clean soil and a fertile ground for a large scale agricultural productivity but the rice growers have to cross a stream to get to the swamps. The President promised a bridge to link the upland and the swamps to allow easy access. He observed that with a small amount of boreholes the whole place can be irrigated.
The next points of call were Dankunku and Janjangbureh rice fields. For the Dankunku farm, experts said salt intrusion has been a major problem as a result of a long spell of drought. To remedy this, President Jammeh suggested for some structures to be built around the river banks to prevent direct and constant flow of sea water to minimise salinity in the fields. He said an extended road, raised up to about one metre, would be constructed to connect the farms. He took the opportunity to warn that whoever would be the contractor, the construction has to be durable.
“We want a road that would last for 15 years. We do not want an intervention, in which after the first rains the road is not motorable; that is a waste of funds,” he stressed.
The last point of call was the President’s rice farm in Janjangbureh, where His Excellency the President said he will build three canals for effective supply and flow of water. By the time the entourage arrived at the President’s farm night befell but that would not stop the presidential delegation from trekking the whole length of the field up to the southern end of the Sankuleykunda River.
Report by Madiba Sillah and Aji Fatou Jammeh
Courtesy of Department of Information Services