By Nelson Manneh
Dr. Alieu Gibba, a Business and Agricultural Economist at the University of The Gambia, has said the Gambia like several other countries in the sub-Saharan Africa, continues to increasingly identify climate change, environmental deterioration, water management and food security, as key concerns for development and agricultural governance. Dr. Gibba was speaking to this paper in an interview on Monday May 28th at the UTG Campus, that despite some minimal progress in recent years, agricultural productivity and competitiveness is still burdened with widespread and persistent rural poverty, particularly among women and young people; that key among the challenges characterizing the sector includes low and decreasing soil fertility, low agricultural and labour productivity, poor access to productive assets (land and water), and inefficient management of water from rainfall and river floods; that the development of agricultural products and production can be a key issue in Gambia’s economic development, especially in the rural areas.
“Through some major smart policy dialogue initiatives and financial support, I would recommend that the potentials of the country be assessed, prices of farm commodities and inputs liberalised, reform public enterprises, liberalize agricultural trade and change foreign exchange and tax regimes that are discriminating towards agriculture. This to a larger degree, will enhance the benefits that are essential for agricultural and income growth which can impact on rural poverty and food security,” Dr. Gibba indicated.
Dr. Gibba reasoned that both the State and partners, require prioritizing intervention that affects the socio-economic relations of agriculture, that directly or indirectly affect the supply of food and raw material, environmental conservation, provision of appropriate income and standard of living for both direct agricultural dependent producers and end users and enhance competitiveness and market stability.