Army spokesman, Major Lamin Sanyang

The Gambia Armed Forces on Monday has announced the launch of a 125 million dollar agricultural project aimed at making the army self-reliant.

The army will venture into tidal rice irrigation, horticulture, aquaculture, animal husbandry, poultry and moringa and sugar cane production.

On April 8th, 2019, President Adama Barrow said that the Gambia Armed Forces will embark on large scale commercial agricultural production after an agreement with AGCO Company.

Speaking at a press conference at the Defense Headquarters in Banjul, army spokesman, Major Lamin Sanyang said the project will enhance civil- military relations through creating job employment, adding “the project will also ensure the military contribute to national development.

“Section 187 of the constitution of the Republic of The Gambia states the roles of the army in clear terms, such as preserving the territorial integrity of the country against external aggression, aid civil authorities on request and on cases of national disasters and engage at the request of the civil authorities such as on agriculture, health, education and engineering.”  

He added: “It is only in the area of Agriculture however that the participation of the Gambia Armed Forces has been at a lower rate with services and battalion running small unit farming to subsidize their diet.”

Major Sanyang said that the project will also ensure that the military is free from interfering with politics and interfering with politicians, adding the GAF is not in any form taking away anyone’s job.

According to him, “over the past three decade the Gambia Armed Forces have been engaging in productive activities such as engineering, health and education as part of its constitutional mandate.

“Therefore, as part of the ongoing reform the Gambia Armed Forces is looking into diversifying its responsibilities in order to preposition itself in the Agricultural sector of the country. We are looking at whole range of Agricultural sector from rice production to Maringa animal production to animal husbandry.”  

He said they have the personnel, the discipline and the professionalism to venture into Agriculture.

According to him, every year the government spends 48 million dalasi on food for the army.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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