Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. By Leo Tolstoy
In the Gambia most youths don’t value farming because they think it is an occupation for the poor alone. Certainly it’s never something I will think of doing. For me growing up as an urban youth was the luckiest thing that could happen to me. Farming was undesirable and not fun at all, so I never gave it a thought or think about its importance.
I considered white collar jobs as the only way out of poverty. Paying attention to my education becomes my only concern. I had three square meals a day even though I never knew where they came from and how the food ended up on my table. Why on earth would I bother to think about farming, because for me it is an occupation reserved for those who had run out of options or have no opportunities in life.
My perception and morals about farming changed when I met this young farmer called Modou. After working hard with his father on their family farm every year, at the end of each raining season they harvest the most anticipated produce rice and groundnut which everyone eyed as the best harvest in all nearby villages and communities. After all his success as a farmer, Modou decided to stop farming left the village for Banjul the capital of the Gambia in search of white collar jobs. It had never be my dream of becoming a farmer; hearing about Modou’s story makes me a different person. I start pondering, saying this is a reduction to the farming population and if every young person should stop farming for a white collar job in the capital city Banjul as Modou did, who would do the farming? Where would my three square meals a day come from?
Unfortunately he could not secure a white collar job in the capital. After my long conversation with Modou I came to realize that there was no motivation and support for farming or encouragement from people like me who think farming is for the poor.
As a result it increases rural urban migration which is one of Africa’s greatest problems and an enemy to farming. If indeed we must overcome the food crisis in the Africa and Gambia in particular governments must decentralize development in other to stop rural urban migration and give financial support to farmers which I think will encourage youths - who are the backbone of any country - to get involved in farming as it is best done by the young and strong and not the old and feable as it is in Africa. Beginning from the Gambia, to solve this problem we have to make efforts to change the attitudes of youths towards agriculture and make more investment in farming.