Lamin K. Sanyang, the spokesperson of The Gambia Armed Forces (GAF), has stated that as part of the ongoing reforms and constitutional requirement, the Armed Forces is looking at diversifying its roles and responsibilities in order to reposition itself in the productive sectors of The Gambia.
“We at the GAF realised that the government spends forty-eight million dalasis each year in purchasing rice alone to feed our troops. Apart from saving government 48 million dalasis each year, we want the millions being spent on the purchase of meat, rice or fish for the Armed Forces to be invested elsewhere,” he said.
PRO Sanyang made this disclosure yesterday morning during a media briefing at the Defence Headquarters in Banjul. “We are looking at a whole range of agricultural products from rice to moringa, aquaculture to animal husbandry and so on. This is borne out of our conviction that we have the personnel, the discipline; we are organised, focused and professional.”
The GAF is set to embark on a large scale agricultural production in The Gambia. “The plan is to dedicate a Battalion, i.e. 1,000 personnel (30 % of which shall comprise youth from the beneficiary communities) to be employed by the project to feed the army. In addition, we are confident that, with the appropriate incentives, GAF has the capacity to feed the nation and even export outside of this country,” PRO Sanyang added.
Sanyang said it is envisaged that the employment of these youths will, in turn help to mitigate rural-urban migration as well as illegal migration of youths. “The project will also promote infrastructural development in the areas where the project will be located. Towns like Georgetown, Wassu which in the past had been tourist sites could get a face lift, as part of the corporate social responsibility of the project to once again attract tourists.”
The project, he went on, will ensure that the military is free from political interference and influence from politicians. “I wish to reiterate that GAF is not in any form of competition with anyone or taking anyone’s job. We are just embarking on a function for which we are constitutionally mandated to embark on especially in agricultural activities.”
He said: “No amount of innuendo or rhetoric can dissuade them from this cause. We are on a legal mission and anyone trying to stop GAF in this venture will be embarking on an illegal activity. The time for rhetoric is over; anyone who has an issue on this is kindly invited to join us in the farms this years. With or without our partners, the AGCO Group, GAF is on course to go ahead with this Agricultural Project to feed herself and if possible feed the nation,” he told journalists.
Author: By Momodou Jawo