RICE as a staple food in Gambia is mainly imported from Asia (Photo credit: Facts and Details)
The President of The Gambia has said he is “determined to end importation of basic food items by 2016 without fail.”
“Our traditional Gambian dishes or foods are being replaced by unhealthy, and for most Muslims, haram junk food being imported into this country,” Yahya Jammeh said on the eve of The Gambia’s 49th independence anniversary of February 18. “This dangerous trend must end.”
In June 2013, President Jammeh announced his government would ban the importation of rice into the country by 2016.
“Come 2016, we will ban the importation of rice into this country in order to strengthen local food industries as well as promote food self-sufficiency and good health,” he said.
Rice is a staple food in The Gambia and the country heavily depends on its importation from south-east Asia for local consumption.
On Monday, he said “I am sure you will agree with me that national pride and independence are meaningless without one’s ability to rely on and feed oneself.”
“Therefore, as we celebrate this independence anniversary, let us take this solemn and sacred responsibility to grow what we eat and eat what we grow,” he added. “In fact, eating what we do not grow, which means eating what we do not know, is detrimental to the attainment of a healthy nation and by extension, a wealthy nation.”
He said for a country to be highly developed, secured, peaceful, stable and independent, it must be a very healthy country.
“Eating what we do not grow or know is responsible for strange health problems that are encountered in today’s Gambia,” according to Jammeh.
Written by Modou S. Joof
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