Speaking at various meeting centers across the North Bank Region as part of the ongoing presidential nationwide tour, the Minister of Agriculture, Lamin N. Dibba, said the government will subsidize the cost of fertilizer by almost 70 percent to ease timely accessibility and affordability for farmers.
Addressing concerns raised by farmers, the Minister said the problems of the country’s agricultural sector cannot be solved by piecemeal.
Rather, a comprehensive all-inclusive strategy that cuts across different sectors will deliver a sustainable solution to the said problem.
He used the opportunity to highlight measures aimed at transforming the country’s agriculture in the context of the National Development plan (NDP 2018-2021).
Additionally, he revealed that fifteen truckloads of fertilizers have already been dispatched for distribution to farmers. However, he was quick to warn farmers to be wary of middle men who would buy the fertilizers at subsidized price from the government and in turn resell the same to farmers at higher costs.
As part of the plan, the Hon. Minister announced that the government would address the acute shortage of seeds and seedlings that farmers bemoaned at various places.
He said the government would augment seed banks across the country to ensure adequate supply of seeds for farmers to use during the farming season.
The Minister, however, urged the farmers to always put in place contingency measures that would ensure they never run out of seeds given that government may not be in a position to be providing seeds every year.
Regarding the purchase of groundnuts, the minister said, going forward, the prices of groundnuts would be announced even before the harvest season starts while promising that the government would never venture into credit buying.
“Gambia has the right international muscle to bring investors that will purchase nuts for exports, or create local avenues to access funds to purchase from farmers,” he added.
He said it saddens the new government that despite such a big potential in agriculture, the country’s youths were on massive outflow to Europe due to lack of employment opportunities.
Dibba urges them to be steadfast and be ready to be active participants in the rebuilding of the country, take advantage of the new opportunities being created here.
Hon. Dibba advanced that there is a greater nexus between agriculture and other sectors of development which is why the government is adopting an all-inclusive integrated approach to development.
Source: State House media team