The announcement or reminder from state house that the ban on charcoal is still in force dawned upon Gambians as another regimental order, ordering them as robots not to dare to produce charcoal lest the consequence they will face. Local and traditional leaders have been pitted against their communities to be ruthless against mostly poor farmers who get into charcoal production as an alternative means of supplementing their low income from farming. The producers of charcoal have not been provided with alternative means of survival, rather they have been slapped with a ban, which in fact has not been enforced for decades.

So long as the farming community continues to rely on crude tools to do farm work, they will not be able to make ends meet and in the absence of a comprehensive policy that promotes mechanized agriculture that takes into account a sustainable environment, they can engage in anything to make ends meet. This is the economics of survival that a regimental order cannot shatter.

What is required is a sound economic policy that generates economic prosperity and dignity of livelihood not a flip flop policy that destroys livelihood. 1.9 million Gambians are not robots or regiments waiting for orders, but a people whose needs are to be met by elected representatives and who are capable of taking their destiny into their hands.


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