RICE as a staple food in Gambia is mainly imported from Asia (Photo credit: Facts and Details)
“We must feed ourselves,” President Yaya Jammeh said of his country, The Gambia, which is endowed with land and fresh water.
Jammeh has said his government plans to initiate an all-year round rice production scheme that could further efforts to attaining food self-sufficiency.
“The all-year-round rice production would not only ensure that there is enough food for local consumption, but surplus for export to other countries,” Mr Jammeh said in the Central River Region according to state media reports.
He is currently on a tour of the country, a constitutional requirement dubbed ‘meet-the-people-tour’ formerly known as ‘meet-the-farmers-tour’.
Jammeh had since last year vowed to ban the importation of rice, a staple, into the West African country. He is touring the country with an idea of a “Vision 2016 Rice Self-Sufficiency Agenda”.
State TV images show Mr Jammeh visiting farms lands and rice fields across the regions and promising to address the concerns raised by local farmers.
“My tour is to dismantle all the ‘Bantabas’ and ensure that the citizens concentrate on the farm. Allah gave us two hands so that we can have the strength to work. Feeding yourself from your sweat is one of the biggest ways of worshiping Allah,” the pro-government Daily Observer newspaper quoted Jammeh as saying.
Jammeh reiterated his comments earlier this year, in which he linked “too many sicknesses” in the country to “eating food we don’t know how they were produced.”
He has also admitted the need for his government to change its operational modules in the agriculture sector, according to media reports.
· This story first appeared on The Voice newspaper.