|Jammeh says 2012 toughest for his 18 years rule (photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Jammeh cited the food crisis that hit the country last year, saying this is the first time in 18 years his government has to seek for international assistance to address a food crisis.
The Gambian leader was speaking to state-TV, GRTS in a pre-recorded interview aired on Saturday, January 26, 2013.
Erratic rainfall during the 2011-12 cropping season was blamed to have led to a significant decline and poor quality harvest in The Gambia.
More than half a million local farmers, the poorest, were the hardest hit – especially women and children.
But Jammeh says he is glad with the response to his government’s aid-seeking call and that “no Gambian to our knowledge starved” as a result of the food crisis.
In April, aid agencies like the World Food Programme realized the food crisis had already forced rural farmers to resort to just one meal a day, selling off their livestock and eating seeds and grain originally set aside for planting.
The drought and food shortages in the Sahel region of Africa were threatening lives, with over 20 million people affected, most of whom farmers who found themselves in a catch-22 situation.
In February 2012, the UN and international aid agencies warn of a humanitarian catastrophe at a time when “international donors are starving Africa’s Sahel region of money” needed to avert a disaster.
A month later, the Gambia government admitted to and declared a state of emergency in response to a food crisis that media reports hinted in late 2011.
Written by Modou S. Joof