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The Minister of Agriculture, Honourable Omar Jallow accompanied by Permanent secretary 1 an Project Coordinators embarked on a four day familiarization tour, which kicked off on the 23rd of May, 2017 at the North Bank Region (NBR).

The entourage paid courtesy call on Regional Governors and visited 20 farming communities and farms including poultry and livestock installations across the country.






Speaking at the start of the tour at Kerewan Vegetable Market constructed by the Nema project.  Honourable Omar Jallow expressed delight for meeting the farmers after 22 years of break. He echoed the commitment of the New Government to the welfare of farmers noting that his office would restore back the cooperative movement; an institution known for helping and promoting farmers and farming in the country. Minister Jallow posited that this time, the cooperative would not only going to base on Groundnut production and marketing but would encompass other sectors of Agriculture including horticulture, livestock, cotton and poultry.

Minister Jallow told the enthusiastic crowd that the Barrow Government has come to serve farmers genuinely and that, gone are those days when farmers would be lured or forced to work for politicians. He said, voting for politicians to make them what they are (with privileges to have a car, comfortable offices and good pay) is enough. If the President or he the Minister, Omar Jallow want to farm, let them do it through their own sweat but not through defenseless poor farmers.

This trip was the first outing of the Minister for 22 years and became an opportunity for him to meet old friends and well-wishers who wasted no time to narrate their ordeals with the former Regime. Key among were the inadequacy of farm implements (the Tractor) and fertilizer which they recalled was cheaply available under the first regime. Tidal Rice producers in the Central River Region complained bitterly about pest destruction notably, Hippopothemus and birds.  They said they were banned by the Wild life Act to kill these animals. They called on the Government to help to reduce their misfortunes associated with these animals. High jacked of Agricultural facilities by the former Regime were reported. For instance, in Basse, the vehicle of the Regional Agricultural Director was off road due to abuse by the then URR Governor. The Police Intervention Unit (PIU) occupied the livestock Breeding Centre in Yorebel Kunda (YBK). Equally, Agricultural tractors were often high jacked by former President for his personal ends in Pacharr, Kaninlai and elsewhere in the country at the expense of poor farmers.  Not to mention the constant abuse of agricultural vehicles, installations and Technocrats were the order of the day in Jammeh Regime.

Responding to the plights of farmers and staff at various points, Minister Jallow expressed dismay and said enough is enough for the sufferings met in former Regime. He called it a lesson for every one and requested that people forgive one another since every one is a victim of the former system. Minister Jallow said there is no community, a sector, a tribe or a Region in the Gambia in which Jammeh did not expel someone from employment, prosecute or killed. From a sorrowful tune, the Minister once again called on the people to forgive one another saying it was revenging that plunged both Sierreleone and Liberia in to genocide.  He said, we all have a hand in Jammeh’s crime since he alone or his tribe are so small that they can hardly influence anything if not supported by others.

He assured farmers that cooperative societies will be revived and farmers would have adequate farm inputs and other supports such as the food aids (free gifts) often donated by friends of the Gambia. He once again reiterated that Civil servant would nor more be expelled from their job as they are the engine of progress that should be respected by all Governments. “Go home and sleep, Your Job is secured” the Minister told staff of the Jahally Pacharr. He also told the staff that the use of Agricultural vehicles by other sectors will no longer going to be tolerated and that all Agricultural installations would be taken back particularly the YBK. The Minister said his Government will encourage farmers to work in partnership with foreign companies where farmers offer land and investors bring their capital for development.


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