President Barrow Calls on Agriculture Ministry to Support Gambian Rice Producers

President Barrow Calls on Agriculture Ministry to Support Gambian Rice Producers

State House, Banjul, 19 March 2024: As part of the Presidential Delivery Forum, the Minister of Agriculture, Honourable Dr Demba Sabally, led his technical team on Agriculture to brief President Adama Barrow and other executives about their past activities and action plan of the Ministry for the next 12 months.

In his opening remarks at the forum, President Barrow stated that The Gambia has been struggling for almost 60 years to feed itself. “We cannot blame anyone because we have the lands and the human resources,” he noted, adding that the consortium of businessmen controlling rice importation would only focus on making a profit; thus, he called on the Ministry of Agriculture to support Gambians to invest in rice production.

The President has observed that the country has been successful in cereal production but has stagnated in rice production. Therefore, he called on the sector to utilise its human resources and technical knowledge to improve rice production in the country. The President also challenged the industry to devise ways to minimise rice importation.

Reporting during the forum, Hon. Sabally revealed that the Ministry is importing over 100 tractors, which will contribute to additional rice productivity and achieve national food security. He emphasised the need for mechanisation, land development, availability of high-yield seeds, farmer education and youth encouragement in agriculture to increase food self-sufficiency in the country.

The Minister also revealed that six active projects have been ongoing, and three other projects are yet to be launched. He explained that the Roots project is the biggest agricultural project, aiming to increase agricultural productivity and market access for enhanced food security.

He added that the GIRAV project focuses on supporting vegetable gardening and other components to make agro-food systems more inclusive, productive, and sustainable. The regional rice value chain project is the hardware of rice factors. “To yield crops, we must  increase productivity only if our seed yield moves from 2 tonnes per hectare to 7 tonnes per hectare.”

Hon. Sabally said the regional rice value chain project is working with the national secretariat to expand and strengthen the seed department. “As of now, rice production has increased by 27%, 12% on groundnut and 25% increment on maise,” said the Agriculture Minister.

At the end of the session, President Barrow expressed satisfaction and urged the Agriculture Ministry to work with Gambians in the private sector to encourage commercialised rice production towards food security.



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