Banjul, Gambia (PANA) - Dr. Isatou Touray, vice president of The Gambia, said here Monday that the rice sub- sector was crucial to the development of The Gambia.
She made this remark at the official launching of the Rice Value Chain Project held at a local hotel, 17km outside Banjul, Monday.
Touray pointed out that the government was aware of food insecurity in the country caused by several factors.
Rice is Liberia’s main food commodity with an annual demand of over 200,000 metric tons with self-sufficiency rate of 17 percent.
“In 2016, a vulnerable assessment framework report indicated that 453,000 people were at risk in terms of food security,” she said.
She explained that agriculture was one of the cornerstones of the national development blueprint and the rice value chain was also one of the priority interventions targeting to increase up to 112,000 mt by 2021.
According to her, the implementation of this project, together with the one financed by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and BADEA, would support the availability of irrigable land not for only subsistence farmers but also for the private sector.
“It will also reduce post-harvest losses through processing and marketing, building capacity for all actors along the rice value chain with women and youth,” she said.
She further explained that the African Development Bank (AFDB) had created the enabling policy environment for active participation of agribusiness entrepreneurs in general and opportunities that existed in the rice sector of the Gambia.
She urged the private sector and stakeholders to take a bold lead in this for joint realization of the significant strides made by the government and AFDB towards rice self-sufficiency in the country.
Touray commended the AFDB for being one of the first institutions to respond to their call and to implement the national development plan 2018-2021.
-0- PANA MSS/RA 18Nov2019