One of the main impediments to our national development is low agricultural productivity and monoculture. The objective of UDP’s agricultural policy is to decentralise access to agricultural education and training, and to improve productivity. We shall direct programmes and actions in the following areas:
Increasing the yield of the land under cultivation
This will require access to appropriate farm equipment, more efficient agricultural extension services, stock-seed storage management, and fertilizer subvention.
Increasing the land area under cultivation
- Pursue an aggressive policy to place more Marsh/swamp lands under rain-fed and irrigated rice cultivation.
- Construct small dams and de-salinization plants, and encourage water conservation to augment the arable land area suited for rice production.
.Improve Credit Service
Access to credit is a pre-requisite to increased agricultural productivity. We shall develop a graduated, efficient and responsive credit system to address the credit needs of the farming community.
Provision of Agricultural Inputs
- Take bold and innovative steps to ensure timely delivery of agricultural inputs to farmers in adequate quantity and at reasonable prices.
- Establish village seed banks to ensure that quality seeds are within the reach of farmers.
Increased productivity will require market outlets. We shall facilitate and develop a network of markets nationally and at multi-lateral level, to ensure access and fair market value for our farm produce. Appropriate techniques will be developed and utilised to process and preserve seasonally available agricultural products to increase their durability and market value.
Research and Development
We shall develop effective research programmes to improve the quality and yield of farming enterprises. A participatory, multi-disciplinary and demand driven research strategies will be developed to enhance sustainable crop and livestock management in the country.
Institutional Reform and Adaptation
We shall revive The Gambia Co-operative Union and create a policy environment that will allow it to exercise its functions efficiently particularly in the area of facilitating the marketing of farmers’ produce.
The National Agricultural Research Institute (NRI) will also be enabled and strengthened to develop agricultural techniques that are environment-friendly and adaptable to Gambia’s socio-economic conditions.
The Soil and Water Management
The Soil and Water Management Unit (SWMU) shall be upgraded to make available more land available for rice production in line with our policy objective of food self-sufficiency. The unit will be tasked to control soil erosion and other agricultural land degradation issues.
In addition to the traditional crops, we shall introduction and promote new varieties of fruit and vegetables to diversify our agricultural production.
We fully recognise the potential of this sub-sector both in terms of its nutritional value as well as its foreign exchange earning capacity. We shall:
- Implement appropriate policies to development and encourage sustainable development practices in this sector.
- Encourage diversification and efficient management of fisheries resources with a view to optimize nutritional value and incomes across the country.
- Put in place policies and measures to tackle over fishing as well as fishing practices that adversely affect marine life and our environment or have the potential of doing so.