Tuesday, July 1, 2014
V - 2016 High Level Committee another cruel hoax
In 1994, Jammeh promised Gambians that the importation of rice will be a thing of the past in two short years. In the interim, the quality of imported rice will be upgraded, he promised Gambians resulting in many consignments of the commodity dumped into the sea rendering some importers bankrupt. Imports went up and the quality remained unchanged at 100% broken which is considered unfit for human consumption in many countries.
A decade later, he continued his promise what has now become a farce, in the same area of food security by encouraging (more like paying lip service) to investments in the processing of agricultural produce, including mangoes. Villagers provided land for these factories to produce mango juice. They are left another decade asking what ever happened to their mango juice factory that never was.
Faced with mounting apprehension about his failed agricuture policies despite numerous promises to make them work, Jammeh announced suddenly a new agriculture program he named Vision 2016 rice self-sufficiency. Curiously, this sudden change in policy is coming in the midst of a cumulative 79% decline in local rice production in the last six years, according to FAO figures.
Gambia presently produces 30,000 tons of rice and imports 125,000 tons annually to meet the consumption needs estimated to be 165,000 tons. Simple arithmetic dictates that for Vision 2016 program to succeed, Gambian farmers must produce a total of approximately 130,000 tons annually to be self sufficient in rice.
It is time for senior officials to tell the dictator that the idea is not only preposterous but it is a cruel hoax designed to divert the attention of Gambians from an impending disaster that awaits them. Establishing a High Level Committee is equally a hoax intended to make it look like the regime is serious about addressing Gambia's food deficit and self-sufficiency problems that has been lingering since Jammeh seized power in 1994.