A call for Government to prioritise the Agricultural sector
Updated: Sep 2, 2020
Commentary | Ansumana B. Bojang
The contribution by the agriculture sector in every economy cannot be overlooked. Based on 144 countries sampled, the average gdp contribution by the sector to these economies was 10.50 per cent. The highest and the lowest gdp contribution was 57 per cent and 0.03 per cent respectively(see World Bank ,2019). This is how critical the agriculture sector remains in the developmental agenda of every nation of which The Gambia is not an exception.
Unfortunately, this all important sector is given little attention by leaving it in the hands of peasant farmers. Again, World Bank (2019) report shows that the sector's contributed gdp of 16 per cent to the Gambian economy. This I dare say it's woefully inadequate considering the total number of the population that engaged in the sector.
There are numerous factors that can cause agricultural productivity to increase or decrease which are country specific. Generally, these factors include the weather, equipment deployed by the farmers, supply and demand side, government interventions etc. At this stage of our developmental agenda we cannot afford to pay lip service to a sector like to agriculture. Available statistics shows that when agriculture sector if is given the needed attention by government, the benefits can be far reaching in terms direct and indirect jobs in the value chain addition.
This calls for a whole and rapid paradigm shift in the sector since we can not afford to be left behind. There are best practices all over to study, adopt and emulate to suit our collective need as The Gambia people.
The solution to some of the above mentioned obstacles in this 21st century era is to modernize the sector. This calls efficient methods of farming measures in using the limited resources- energy, water, reducing post harvest losses, roads to cut produces to the market, warehouse in major farming communities, input subsidies for farmers, renewable energy etc.
The ultimate goal is to modernize agriculture by deploying technology on every facet of the sector to benefit The Gambian people.
By so doing the sector will be very attractive to all the young, the have and the have not, and the graduates alike thereby reducing the graduate unemployment. And I dare say YES, WE CAN!!
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