The key theme of the dialogue of the people's tour is to ensure rice self sufficiency by 2016. However, what is of immediate concern to Gambians is the escalating price of rice.
Currently, the price for the lowest quality of rice is 975 dalasi in some places and 1020 dalasi in other places.
The price of rice of better quality stands at 1500 dalasi for the 50 Kilogram bag. It is the affordability of rice that is now in question. The president has not explained how his government intends to lower the price to make it affordable to those who are paid less than 1000 dalasis by the government and those who feed extended families from an income of less than 5000 dalasi per month.
The major problem confronting family men and women is the high cost of living. Many extended families consume more than two bags of rice a month. Some may be rice growers, but others are rice consumers.
How the income of the consumers would grow to enable them to purchase rice and how the price of rice could be reduced to make it affordable to the consumers has not been addressed during the president's tour.
We hope this will be addressed before the end of the tour. We are waiting to air the views to the masses.