The Gambia’s Minister of Agriculture Omar A. Jallow has set a two-year time frame for the country to be rice self-sufficient.
“With the present intervention in the rice sector, we hope that we can be self-sufficient in the next two years,” he told journalists during a press conference held at his office in Banjul.
The Gambia has of one the highest per capita consumption rates (117 kg) in the world and the country continues to import tens of thousands of rice every year. Rice productivity is expected to surge this year as a lot of efforts have been injected by government and the private sector.
Minister Jallow said in 1993 the Gambia was producing over 70% of its domestic consumption, a situation which drastically changed during the 22-year rule of the Jammeh regime. Jallow recalled the 2016 budget speech delivered by former finance minister Abdou Kolley in which he announced that the ccountry’s rice production has fall down to 15%.
“It is our responsibility to bring rice production from 15% to 100%,” he added.
During a recent regional meeting held last week in Banjul, the country’s Agriculture Minister reminded the gathering that the Gambia government has identified rice as a major food security crop, a national rice development strategy for 2015-2024 has been set up with the objective of creating a competitive rice industry.