(JollofNews) – Yahya Jammeh was lately in the Central River Region of the Gambia promoting what he sees as yet another step in country’s so-called march towards rice self-sufficiency.
Mr Jammeh even participated in the harvest of a donor-funded rice field in the region and after his visit; he told the media that after 2015, the Gambia will no longer waste its resources in the importation of rice.
Importation of rice, which costs the country a whopping US$50 million according Jammeh, will be a thing of the past. We are not convinced.
Since 1994, Mr Jammeh continues to make such pronouncements to the Gambian people and 20 years after, progress in attaining rice self-sufficiency is only measured in centimetres.
There is a fundamental problem. So long the development doctrine dominant at State House continues to give primacy to big building projects rather than agriculture, hunger, harshness and poverty in the towns and villages across the country will continue to be felt.
The apparent indifference and cynicism of Mr Jammeh to the plight of his people mean more Gambians will continue to suffer and die of hunger and hunger-related problems.
For all the so-called efforts and claims of expenditure in agriculture, there is nothing that could be said to have brought about major transformation in the quality of the life for the Gambian people. Since July 1994, the number of Gambian being born in poverty, growing up in poverty and dying in abject poverty has increased and it’s nobody’s fault but Mr Jammeh.
One man’s blurred vision of development.
Governance is a collective responsibility. If Mr Jammeh feels he can rule and lead the Gambia to an enviable nation-state all based on his distorted vision of development, Gambians better brace up for years of suffering, want and lack.
Look at him, at a time when ideas are being floated in other countries for the diversification of agriculture Mr Jammeh is making us believe that only sufficiency in rice can pull us from our state of hunger.
At a time when other countries are making progress in food processing, animal husbandry and agro-business, Mr Jammeh is taking us back in time. A blurred vision of development, isn’t it?
Its not only rice cultivation that can drive hunger and poverty away from the doors of many Gambian. What about other agricultural ventures like horticulture, processing, poultry farming, fishing etc that will no doubt lay the foundation and power economic growth and better lives in the impoverished West African state.
What is wrong in government creating a conducive environment for investors to invest in these areas? But again we are far from achieving this so long as white elephant projects continue to dominate the development doctrine at State House compounded by a huge democratic deficit.
With Jammeh’ blurred vision of development, lack of concern and sympathy for the Gambian people, we better prepare ourselves for more reports of poverty, hunger, malnutrition and hunger-related deaths in our motherland.