By: Kebba AF Touray
Memebr Wuli West, Sidia Jatta said we must be primarily depend on ourselves for survival. He made these remarks yesterday when the National Assembly Select Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development tabled its report before Deputies for adoption.
He said the report of the Committee is the most important report, because the survival of the country is hinged on agriculture and is crucial for the Committee to co-opt some members of National Assembly to extract some fundamentals of the report, constraints and corroborate the recommendations and put them together to make it accessible to the Department of Agriculture and Ministry of Agriculture, and as well monitor the implementation of the recommendations made.
He said that NARI has a huge responsibility, particularly considering the new emerging climate situation and recommended the need to have an adaptable agriculture to the new emerging climate situation and must help to have new adaptable seeds to the new climate situation among them for groundnut, adding that rainfall pattern is changing every year.
“We have water in the country which can be used all the 12 months of the year. So we should think about what we should do to fundamentally change our agriculture, not only rain fed, but means to make it all year around agriculture. That is a responsibility that NARI and concerned stakeholders must look at”, said Jatta.
He expressed the need to revitalize the country’s soil, adding that the soil is poor, giving rise to infertility and that farmers keep on tilling the same land without fertilizer. This revitalization, he added is possible not only with chemical fertilizer, which people are gradually doing away with due its bad effects, but the country has the means to produce fertilizer.
He hammered home that there can be no development without efforts and sacrifice. “We cannot go anywhere without sacrificing, not only sacrificing our time, but energy and resources. That is the only way we can. We must depend on what we can do. I’m not saying that we don’t need help, but help coming outside is secondary. We must primarily depend on ourselves for our survival,” said Jatta.
He added that agriculture can be changed and the country can be made self-reliant, but what is lacking is sacrifice and strategic people and planning. He said it is fundamental to start moving agriculture and that the National Assembly chambers must be a starting point, because farmers are tired of being in the sun and having nothing.
“Agriculture has become a liability, how many tons of groundnuts are still lying in the provinces and everywhere in the country without been marketed, what are we going to do about that and are we to continue having that?” he asked.
He stressed that parliament cannot do without making recommendations, but in some situations it demands and directs, that when parliament is making resolutions on fundamental issues it does not recommend, but demands, but with government policy it recommends, otherwise there will be no room for oversight and being a watchdog in the implementation of those recommendations.