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Prospects for agricultural water management
Given the low farmgate price of rice, the Government is considering alternative crops such as sugar cane, bananas and onions to justify investment in the rehabilitation of existing pump irrigation schemes.
By fully developing tidal irrigation and using superior seed rice together with the best cultivation technology, the Gambia can greatly increase output per unit area and even attain self-sufficiency. However, if tidal irrigation is to succeed in increasing the Gambia’s rice output, the following measures are required:
- Farmers must be trained in effective rice cultivation techniques;
- Farmers must learn to control and use tidal irrigation;
- Farmers must be encouraged to change their attitudes and receive training in the use of draft animals to replace human labor, as a means of reducing costs and increasing profits.
- Farmers’ associations or similar organizations need to be established or strengthened, and cooperation improved;
- Irrigation or similar associations should be established and given responsibility for managing water resources and irrigation operations and for extending irrigation facilities within their districts. These duties are currently being performed by the implementing units of the various projects, but the work is not achieving as good results as might be possible.
National policies give high priority to increased rice production using technologies which are environmentally sound and sustainable without subsidies. The Government also gives high priority to food security and poverty alleviation within the context of sustainable development.