By: Kebba AF Touray
Gambia’s Agriculture Minister Amie Fabureh, has assured legislators at the Gambia’s National Assembly, that farmers’ concerns will be addressed. Agric. Minister Fabureh gave this assurance in response to concerns raised by Lawmakers 4th Ordinary Session of the Gambia National Assembly. She said although her Ministry is aware of this year’s poor harvest, one should not jump into conclusión and declare drought, because there are measures that should be taken; that they have conducted some midterm assessments, and that it will be early to announce crop failure at the time of the assessment.
Agric. Minister Fabureh said during pre-harvest time, they had the UN system, ActionAid and Planning Services among other assessment bodies during the validation of an assessment report, just to ensure a thorough, reliable and accurate information is produced and submitted to the authorities. She disclosed that they will inform Government of their decisions based on this assessment report.
“The Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the Agric. Department, have started to support women vegetable growers through the Japanese Fund, because one of the coping strategies is vegetable production in the dry season. Based on this, more than 100 gardens have been supported with vegetable seeds as a start,” she said; that there are plans set aside for the 2020 rainy season where farmers can at least be supported.
On the buying of farmers’ groundnuts, Agric. Minister Fabureh explained that the price of a ton of groundnut this year, is D18, 000 (eight-teen thousand dalasi), compared to D17,500 (seven-teen thousand five hundred dalasi) last year; that this shows an additional increment. She disclosed that Government has subsidized almost D5,932 (five thousand nine hundred and thirty two dalasi) on every ton in order to make sure they purchase all groundnuts from farmers. This she indicated, shows Government’s continuous subsidy on both groundnut and fertilizer for the farming community.
Agric. Minister Fabureh said it is the joint responsibility of both the Ministry of Agriculture and Legislators to encourage farmers to sell their groundnuts to the Gambia Groundnut Cooperation (GGC); that come next rainy season, farmers and parliamentarians will be coming to the GGC to ask about fertilizer.
“If you look at the official groundnut price of our neighboring country, it is lower compared to the official groundnut price of the Gambia. Border post guards should also be vigilant to ensure that those coming into the country to buy groundnuts from our farmers, have legal documentation so that to legally purchase groundnut,” she said
On the provision of drinking points for ruminants, Agric. Minister Fabureh said her Ministry has a small ruminant project that will provide cattle drinking points country wide; that this may not adequately address the issue, but the project targets twenty drinking points which will be fairly distributed countrywide.
On SCAN-Gambia Company, Agric. Minister Fabureh clarified that the current Ministry of Agriculture is not responsible for this particular Company, but the former regime of Yahya Jammeh; that there is no documentation that shows that her Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for SCAN Gambia.
“The current Ministry of Agriculture cannot take responsibility for SCAN Gambia and it is not part of our purview to take care of it,” she said.
On the issue Kuloro, Tungina, Bassori and Mandinaba fencing problems for women gardeners, Agric. Minister Fabureh reminded Legislators that the gardens of the mention places were fenced and are supported by FASDEP Project.
On the issue of supporting the livestock sector to become it own Ministry, Agric. Minister Fabureh said livestock service is a priority area for her Ministry and as such they have supported the sector with CDDP, PPR and other non-communicable vaccines this year, amongst others.
“This shows that we are committed to support the livestock sector. And with the small ruminant Project, there is high hope that it will change the face of the livestock sector,” Agric. Minister Fabureh concludes.