The United Democratic Party commits to:
A comprehensive agriculture sector management review will be conducted in order to revitalize the agriculture sector. The objective of this exercise is to rid the sector of its perennial inefficiencies, wastage and potentials for corrupt practices and ultimately develop a responsive sector. This review will include management of land, water and agricultural practices in all areas. The objective is to initially grow and make food cheaper in the country and later attain food self-sufficiency at the household level for all Gambians.
Hitherto, the agriculture sector is reliant on rain-fed agriculture, dominated by a single cash crop (groundnuts) within subsistent small-holder farming practices. The UDP is committed to a new business model in agriculture which will be characterized by transformative investments in the high-yielding sub-sectors such as rice, horticulture, livestock, fisheries, forestry and poultry. Strategic investments in these sectors could increase the viability and attractiveness of the agriculture sector for youths and women participation.
Despite agriculture having high potential to provide diverse employment opportunities and currently providing employment for more than 70 per cent of the work force, the majority of people working in the sector are poor or under-employed. It has failed to attract young people who have the energy and talent. The UDP is committed to implementing a range of incentive packages that would attract young people (male and female) in all locations (rural and urban) to get engaged in agri-production and agri-business activities.
UDP understands that most stakeholders experience substantial loss in their produce due to poor or even lack of infrastructure and facilities for transportation, storage, processing and marketing. The Party is committed to developing the agriculture production and value chain infrastructure, facilities and services to maximize returns and reduce post-harvest loss.
Without a strong agriculture sector that is capable of meeting the supply needs of the service sector (e.g. hotel, restaurants, entertainment resorts and local ceremonies) most of the foreign exchange earnings of the country will be spent on importation of agricultural products. UDP is committed to inter-sectoral linkages between agriculture and other sectors to enable the re-orientation of agricultural production to meet the demands of the service sector in the short-term thereby reducing importation and becoming a net exporter in the long-term.
UDP believes that a country with malnourished children, an underfed and sick population and an uneducated workforce will never attain a desirable quality of life for its people. The UDP’s nutrition and agriculture and food security policy agenda is based on our firm commitment to eradicate child malnutrition, guarantee food security for the entire population, thus creating a strong workforce that will drive growth and prosperity across other sectors of the economy.
The UDP recognizes that land appears to be an intractable source of conflict all over the country. A UDP government will design a land reform program aimed at resolving the land disputes while, at the sametime, ensuring that agricultural lands especially in the Kombos, are not allocated for commercial real estate speculative purposes.