Government working on policy to promote commercial farming

By Kebba Jeffang

The director of press and public relations at the Office of the President Amie Bojang-Sissoho, said the government is working on a policy to promote a move from subsistence to commercial farming in order to boost production.

She said so at the weekly press conference she held on Thursday, June, 29 to inform journalists on weekly activities of President Adama Barrow, at State House in Fajara.

She said the ministry of agriculture is working on the policy in order to promote public-private partnership to encourage investors to work with farmers and move from subsistence to commercial farming as well as add value to the production, processing, storage and marketing chain.

She said President Adama Barrow’s government has put emphasis on adding value to agriculture to improve the economy. She said their policy is to promote diversification in agriculture. She said this would not only stop at groundnut and rice production, but horticulture, livestock and poultry farming.

According to her, the government aimed high for farmers which necessitated the reduction of fertilizer price across the country.

“The price of fertilizer has been reduced along with some food commodities such as onions and Irish potatoes,” she said.

However, when asked about rice price which is still skyrocketing, she said, her government will work hard to reduce basic needs but for now the price of rice is yet to be reduced.

On institutional reforms, she said there have been changes with the security apparatus where the new heads of the police, immigration and prisons departments were appointed.

She said the appointments of Governor and deputy Governors are part of the institutional reforms the government is undertaking. For the district chiefs, she said President Barrow has already declared that the Chiefs’ positions should be depoliticized.

“It is government’s policy to depoliticize the office of the Governors in the regions. As representatives of the President at regional levels, the office of the Governor is a public institution that should serve all citizens,” she said.

She added that the president also delegated the minister of Women Affairs to launch the National Think-Tank which was done on Thursday. She said the move is an initiative of the new government to assist in championing evidence-based policy making through a people centered research, advocacy, networking and strategic partnership making best use of Gambian expertise when they are in country or in the Diaspora.

She said over the week, the President has been consulting with professionals and business people in order to contribute in advancing his development agenda as well as promoting diplomacy bilaterally and multilaterally.

Bojang-Sissoho said the president has also engaged the religious leaders during ‘Edul-Fitr’ (Koriteh) where he addressed the issue of tolerance among religions. She said the President also promised that policy will be developed by 2018 to liberalise Hajj travel arrangements which she said will allow more competition and better services for pilgrims.

“The 4th Cabinet meeting which was held on Wednesday provided an opportunity for the approval of many projects such as improving information management, data collection, infrastructural development and institutional reforms at the Ministries of Finance and Economic Affairs, Transport, Works and Infrastructure and the Interior respectively,” she said.

She concluded by informing that President Barrow will attend the 29th Ordinary Session of African Union in Addis Ababa next week.