13 August 2014

Gambia: Agriculture and Public-Private Partnership

editorial

The Agriculture minister has recently engaged the private sector soliciting their input in the national drive for food self-sufficiency vision 2016. We cannot overemphasise this consultative process because active involvement of the private sector has often been viewed as a crucial determinant for the success of any development programme.

As the sector that can easily mobilise foreign direct investment and ensure perfect competition in a free market economy, leading to the production of quality goods and services and high growth, the private sector partnership is always high on the development agenda of many countries.

However, the sector is able to perform this role when provided the enabling environment by government. Cognizant of the contribution of the government in promoting a private sector-led growth and development, we wish to add our voice to the minister's initiative by calling on the sector to also complement the efforts of the government in agriculture, with a view to making possible the mechanisation of our agriculture; and food self-sufficiency a reality.

The fact remains that the government is trying on its part to boost the country's investment climate. But then, government cannot do it all alone, as the entire process of development requires an all-inclusive participatory mechanism. Vibrant sectors of society like the private sector should therefore be in the forefront to complement the efforts of the government. Also, since agriculture is the bedrock for all other developments, the private sector should endeavour to be in the vanguard of its development.

After all, the sector is an important substitute for state enterprises and contributes greatly to solving the problems of unemployment, as well as create a great deal of tax income for the government.

It has the potential to encourage partnerships and the emergence of public-private corporations which can enable companies possess a huge bargaining power to mobilise resources and the required capital for our collective development.

This is what our agriculture sector needs for its expansion. The private sector should therefore come on board.

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