Gambia’s President Adama Barrow says his government has put up $25 million to support the country’s mostly ignored farmers this rainy season with peanut seeds and fertilizers.
“So far $25 million is available from the Islamic Development Bank to support farmers with groundnut seeds and fertilizers for the upcoming rainy season,” Mr. Barrow said.
Agriculture, which has been the country’s backbone has seen many people leaving it for the service sector. Agriculture employed more than 75% of Gambians but now only employs about 35%. At least 55% are now in the service sector, according to a government report released last year.
Gambia’s former President Yahya Jammeh accused senior agriculture department officials of embezzling some $120 million, sparking a mass firing and prosecution in a ministry that he oversaw for most of his rule.
Many Gambian youths abandoned agriculture to weak and old in rural communities, choosing to perilously journey through the Sahara and across the Mediterranean in hopes for jobs and better economic opportunities in Europe.
President Barrow has pledged to revive agriculture after Jammeh’s so-called self-sufficiency Vision 2016 propaganda failed. His administration has promised to support Gambians to explore opportunities in the fishing industry, which is now dominated by the Chinese in the region.