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  • Writer's pictureOmar A. Manjang

Features: We are the cause of our own problems and the solutions will not come from the sky

Days back in the Gambia when you want to buy imported rice you have to hide simply because doing so was associated with a lot of negative denotations.

Almost every region the Gambia was known for her rice production, as harvests will find previous harvests in the food store (buntungno) sometimes you even have to give it away or you barter with other commodities, or processing them into chemical free nutritious home made products that today you hardly hear about, that was the reality. , almost every Gambian is very concious about food sufficiency, you have variaty of options on the food table.

Attending schools or institutions will not stop you from contributing your part. We only had one institute where skills were learnt to add value to the rice production but the saddest part is with more of these knowledge and skills base impactful institutions that is the time we are loosing that foresight to device efforts to increase the rice production rather than giving our backs to farming. Today we have institutions in their numbers that makes little or no impact as buying imported rice is the order of the day. My people in KomboS keep on selling those fertile swampY lands that were known for rice production or in exchange of cars all in the name of eradicating poverty .

With all that you come back to that status that you were in last two years and we still continue to struggle in life. Today go and see the then glorious rice production sites such as "Sandalibaa, Fafakoo, Karangbuja, Jukanjaa, Abukumala, Tambakara, Kanuma, just to mention few, those presious treasuries have all monitized. My people in provincial Gambia will tell you I am originally from provinces but am now residing in Kombo even during holidays they hardly visit back home talkless of coming up with innovative farming techniques to make the use of those "Faroos" inherited from our grandparents and parents we all compete buying imported rice.

Locally grown rice that used to feed majority of Gambians before the imported rice took over

You score good grades in agricultural courses, but you don't even step your foot in the field or you are not even interested in making a difference from that skill.

All these unconsciousness is backed by unfocused vision to revitalize these to compete home produced rice with imported once. These are clear indications our poor management and the plans to fight hunger. No country has set a good track in relaying on importation of rice while endowed with natural resources to make a difference. If this trajectory continues ,is it impossible to attain food self sufficiency while people are selling those productive lands or mining before your very own eye? you are telling your people we will bring down the price of rice. We priotize infrastructure over food self sufficiency. Sir Dawda was quoted as saying: "If your food basket is coming from overseas, your sovereignty is at stake".

From a reliable source, a bag of rice in the provencial Gambia is costing D1850 and guess what? in next two years we could be buying a bag of rice for D2000 or more. These imported rice are alleged to be produced on chemical base farming, couple with inadequate plans to test these rice before public consumption. We are course of our own problems blaming one another baselessly will not solve our problem. Lets go back home and our take on our pride to make a difference. "No matter how long a stick stays in the river will never turn to a crocodile".

The Gambia is not a destitude nation before her mates we have it all that can make it be number one leading country in west Africa in rice importation . We are the solution to our own problems and we can make a change.

The author, Omar A Manjang in a rice field - Grow what you eat and eat what you grow

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