QUESTION OF THE DAY
There was a big debate in the National Assembly which lasted from morning to late at night regarding the loans and grants signed by the Executive for investment in agriculture.
The family farms are the dominant system of ownership of the means of production in agriculture. The lack of input had influenced families in the West Coast to sell their agricultural land leaving nothing for their children and grandchildren to inherit.
Members of the National Assembly like Halifa Sallah have expressed fear that Government is leaning towards giving the land to investors to own instead of focusing on creating a cooperative bank to give production support to family farms requiring them to repay with only service charges to shoulder without interest charges. Should government help family farms to retain their land and increase production or should it put the land in the hands of big investors?
Talking to Halifa Sallah after the debate he said investment of capital is welcomed in Banking, tourism, building industries, mining and Capital intensive ventures but not in taking over land from family farms or taking over small scale processing and marketing of produce which are the only way poverty could be eradicated.
His argument is that in developed counties there is consumption based welfare where the state provides for the vulnerable. He argues that in a country like The Gambia where there is no consumption based welfare people who have little income carry many poor family members on their backs. Hence he calls for production based welfare where cooperative banks will give seed money to men, women and youth at all levels of the production and marketing chain to feed themselves and the nation.
Foroyaa will talk to the other side of the debate to sound out their views. The debate on the way forward will continue unabated.