(JollofNews) – Gambia’s minister of Agriculture Omar A. Jallow, Tuesday set a two-year timeframe 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.
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 Gambia was producing 70 per cent of its domestic consumption.
A situation which drastically changed during the 22-year rule of the Jammeh regime.
Mr Jallow recalled the 2016 budget speech delivered by former Finance minister Abdou Kolley, in which he announced that the country’s rice production has fall down to 15 per cent.
“This is our responsibility to bring rice production from 15 per cent to 100 per cent,” he added.
During a recent regional meeting held last week in Banjul, Mr Jallow reminded the gathering that the Gambia government has identified rice as a major food security crop, and a national rice development strategy (NRDS) for 2015-2024 has been set up with the objective of creating a competitive rice industry.