Gambia's regional governors have amplified the back-to-the-land call of President Jammeh, calling on all and sundry to heed this anti-hunger initiative, designed at augmenting household food security and making the nation a food basket in the sub-region.
In an exclusive interview with four of the five governors Tuesday, the regional administrators were unanimous in their assertion that if Gambians respond positively to this presidential call, the nation will soon not only become food self-sufficient, but the farmers' income will be raised substantially. This, they concurred, will result in the reduction of poverty and ensure better living standards.
Their calls came as farmers across the country commenced ploughing and sowing in all the five regions.
West Coast Region
Governor Lamin Sanneh of the West Coast Region (WCR) said his people will always heed the Gambian leader's call, not for the sake of the president himself, but themselves, as they are the direct beneficiaries of their own hard work.
He opined that taking advantage of the land could be the best way The Gambia could improve its economy, while families can feed on quality food. He stressed that the president has a vision for the best interest of the Gambian people, but was quick to note that unless the citizens stand strong to support him on this move, "we can hardly achieve those targets".
Calling on the people of his region to be pacesetters in responding to the Gambian leader's calls, Governor Sanneh stressed that there are abundant lands in the region that could be tilled for good agricultural production. He said the president's call on people to embrace agriculture is not a call for his own interest, but instead that of the people.
North Bank Region
In the North Bank Region of the country, farmers have already started sowing their crops with expectation of a good harvest. The governor of the region, Lamin Queen Jammeh, assured the preparedness of his people in the anti-hunger drive, indicating that there is an increase in the number of lands under cultivation. This, he told the Daily Observer, suggests that the overall production for this year's cropping season is expected to be higher.
Like Governor Sanneh, Jammeh is also of the view that agriculture has the potential to improve the country's economy, but only if the people are ready to take it up seriously. He said President Jammeh's continued call for Gambians to return to the land in order to address poverty is a worthy one that every sober and patriotic Gambian should answer to.
Upper River Region
The URR governor, Omar Khan, said his region has never taken a back seat when it comes to farming. He said some farmers have already started weeding, whilst others are still sowing. This, he said, shows that his people are responding to President Jammeh's call.
Governor Khan also revealed that there are youth farms in every district in his region. He disclosed that 20 farms are dedicated to President Jammeh.
Central River Region
Central River Region is described as Gambia's biggest food barn with a potential to produce most of the food the country needs for consumption. But according to the region's governor, Ganyi Touray, more and more Gambians are heeding President Jammeh's call after realising the enormous gains in agriculture.
"Today, our problem is not how prepared we are, but the availability of land," he stated. He however stressed that if the available land in CRR is properly utilised, the region alone can feed the whole Gambia.
"I am quite sure that the production for this year's farming season will surpass the past years," he said, while disclosing that each of the 11 districts in his region has a specific youth farm initiated by the young people.
"This shows how the young people of CRR are heeding the president's call," he concluded.