Crr — The youth of the Central River Region (CRR) have indicated their strong commitment and readiness to venture into agricultural activities in the drive towards ensuring household food security and keeping hunger at bay.
The young people made the commitment at the ongoing National Youth Conference and Festival (NAYCONF) in the region's provincial town of Bansang, where the nation's cream have converged to dilate on significant national issues geared towards their advancement and development.
In an articulate presentation at the conference, the host region's youths affirmed their readiness to tap the endowed resources of the region; such as fresh water for agricultural undertakings. Among other issues highlighted by the youths of the region as agreed during the pre-conference meeting, include health, drug abuse and entrepreneurship.
To achieve their objectives for agricultural undertakings, the youths requested increased farm inputs and implements; such as tractors, threshing machines, and combined harvester amongst others. They also highlighted the need for the provision of fishing boats and gears; to improve and expand the Jahally Pacharr project and establish market outlets.
Acknowledging the fact that agriculture is the mainstay of The Gambia's economy, the youths stressed that the only way to attain food self- sufficiency is to venture into farming. They also emphasised the need for the marketing of agricultural produce to be addressed. They also recommended for the upgrading of marketing centres to the required standards so as to attract international investments.
"The young people constitute about 63% of the population and are the most vulnerable group to incurable diseases like HIV/AIDS. This is affecting a great number of youths in The Gambia and the world at large. Looking at the trend and magnitude of the prevalence rate, the youth need to be empowered with skills and knowledge to embark on massive sensitisation campaigns," they highlighted.
On the issue of entrepreneurship to minimise unemployment the CRR youths underscored the need for entrepreneurship skills to be broadened and intensified across the regions. "The skill centres and vocational training institutions need to be upgraded and equipped with required materials to meet standards. This will also minimise rural-urban drift," they pointed out.