The claim that hunger in the Gambia has been reduced by half needs to be scientifically interrogated.
Have the Government really done a house to house survey to know how income has grown in relation to the cost of living in this country. How many Gambians can afford three balanced meals a day? The APRC government leadership should take a walk and ask for the cost of bread and beans and a cup of tea from a food vendor. The cost is 20 dalasi. A family of five would have to spend 100 dalasi a day just to have bread, beans and a cup of tea for breakfast. This would require an income of 3000 dalasi per month. You could count the number of Gambians who are earning more than 3000 dalasi a month as legitimate salary.
Needless to say, if the employed cannot afford a balanced breakfast what about the tens of thousands who are unemployed. The government should begin to face the hard realities of the society and call a spade a spade.
Its own statistics provide abundant evidence that things are getting worse.
The nation is told that there is a decline in agricultural output by 15 percent in 2014 compared to 2013.
The government has acknowledged that “the total cultivated area in 2014 is estimated to be 322,711 hectares. This is an estimated decline of 4 percent over last year and 6 percent drop over the five-year average. Area cultivated under cereals showed an estimated slight decrease of 1 percent over last year; declining to a total of 232,251 hectares, while the cultivated area for groundnut dropped by 12 percent compared to last year”
“Total crop production is estimated to be 292,581 metric tons out of this cereal production accounts for an estimated 201,805 metric tons representing 11 percent drop over last year compared to the five-year average, total crop production has showed a decrease of 6 percent, while production of cereals dropped by 3 percent.”
These figures are based on preliminary assessment. Farmers Eye, however, has quizzed the farming community and many of whom claimed that soil infertility and inability to purchase fertilizer at a cost of 1,150 dalasi per bag poses a bigger threat to them than even the unseasonal rain. Food poverty is evident and the country should be seeking support to fight hunger rather than celebrating awards. This is the honest truth that requires attention by the government