OJ Accuses APRC of killing Agriculture in The Gambia

Written By Madi S. Njie

Omar A. Jallow, The Gambia’s Agriculture Minister has accused the former APRC government led by Yahya jammeh of killing agriculture, which consequently ruined the country’s economy.

Hon. Jallow among others said the trend became embarrassing to the youth—seeing their suffocated parents and families falling victim of abuse and exploitation. He said this forced thousands of young Gambians to abandon their homes, risking their lives venturing into the deadly wicked back-way to Europe. “Your children did not know this during the PPP regime,” he told farmers inauguration of the Kerewan market funded by Nema Project in the regional administrative town of North Bank Region (NBR), marking the Agriculture minister’s first activities during his tour of agriculture hot spots in the provinces.

This said, the situation has claimed unaccounted number of lives of young Gambians searching for greener pasture abroad, he added. The Agriculture Minister made these remarks during visits to projects sites and farming communities in North Bank, Central, Upper and Lower River Regions of The Gambia respectively, from 23 to 25 May 2017.

Mr. Jallow said being fed up with the Yahya Jammeh’s oppressive rule, Gambian came together to dislodge dictatorship, by voting the Adama Barrow’s led Coalition Government democratically.

Responding to farmers appeals for urgent government intervention into their depressive sinking agricultural sector, The Gambia agriculture minister said he had discussed with the President to ensure timely provision affordable seeds and fertilizers, with a view to revitalize and further promote agriculture led socio-economic growth in The Gambia.

He added that their intentions are to supply seeds and fertilizer before the raining season starts.

Dr Fofana director of Livestock Services, who formed part of the high level delegation, comprising Permanent Secretary for Agriculture, other agriculture unit directors, project management personals, told farmers to start preparing by clearing their farm lands as raining season is fast approaching.

He further said the Agriculture Ministry will under his administration prioritize the reactivation of defunct Cooperative Societies, which he headed for 15 prior to becoming Agriculture Minister Years before the end of the PPP regime.

After leading The Gambia in 1965, Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara’s government was overthrown by Military Junta led by then Lt. Yahya Jammeh, who ruled 2 years transition period, and thereafter contested under civilian ticket, winning four consecutive opposition disputed Presidential elections.

Week after he conceded defeat in the 1 December 2016 Presidential Elections, Mr Jammeh rejected the election results, calling for fresh elections, accused his Government’s Independent Electoral Commission of being corrupt, and consequently imposed state of emergency bill through an act of Parliament, but finally left for exile in Guinea after the intervention of ECOWAS Sub-regional Forces.

Jallow accused the Jammeh led APRC Government of killing Agriculture during their 22 years rule, pointing out that seeds and fertilizer were not constraints to farmers during the PPP 30 Years rule.

He further said Gambian farmers know about back-way syndrome during the APRC regime, which was not known during the PPP eras.

Jallow also spoke of his interest to revive the defunct cooperative societies, noting: “If we want farmers to have peace and get what they want the cooperative society that was ruin by the former government must be revived.

“That is why the new government intends to invest in good groundnut seeds, rice and bring back cotton production, horticultural gardening. We have a project that will establish over 40 horticultural gardens, among others” he said. 

After crossing from Barra on 23 May 2017, OJ visited regional Governors’ AND regional agricultural offices Sapu in CRR, URR, and LRR, and held meetings with staff to have firsthand information about the staff, with a view to redefine way forward. Jallow also visited rice fields, livestock- small ruminants, and poultry production projects, and heard from them about their numerous challenges. 

 Mix farming centers in Njau and Yerro Berry Kunda mix farming centers (known as YBK) among project sites visited, as well tidal irrigation centers.

After listening to their remarks, various directors, the Permanent Secretary, and for Agriculture Minister called on staff to maintain good team working spirit to overcome challenges facing at work. 

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