President retreats to the farms

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Gambia’s number one farmer, President Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh, has once again manifested his sterling leadership qualities by setting the pace in this year’s rainy season.

Dr Jammeh made a weekend retreat to his native Kanilai Village in Foni Kansala District, Western Region, where he took active part in ploughing at the two of his farms.

The Gambian leader’s Saturday activities began at his 3km wide farm, situated at the Bunubore Forest Park, in the outskirts of Kanilai. There, he inspected ploughing activity and planting of early millet by supporters from Kombo East, Central and South. Supporters from each of the constituencies were accompanied to the village by their NAMs.

As the president and his entourage arrived at the farm, the working crowd cheered with excitement, upon seeing the president. But Dr Jammeh would not settle down unless he took active part in ploughing activity and sowing of seeds on the farm.

Dressed in a three quarter green Khaftan, Dr Jammeh demonstrated a skillful display of the Kajandago, the Jola traditional ploughing tool, to the surprise of a group of visiting Lebanese agricultural students, currently  on a study tour in the country.  The president’s move inspired the group and some members of the entourage to join him in the activity. But most of them could not withstand the heat of the activity, unlike the president who had occasionally flashed at them with smiles;  a show of his love for the job.

He used part of his time at the farm to teach the visiting students about the use of the Kajandago  and the proper method of sowing the millet. In turn, the students, touched by the president’s insightful knowledge of farming, tried to demonstrate the use of the traditional tool, which apparently appeared alien to them.

In a show of respect and gratitude, Dr Jammeh shook hands with all the workers at the farm at the end of the day-long exercise.

The Gambian leader’s next stop was at the rice fields near the main bridge at Kanilai. There, he met scores of women ploughing on the field, amid beats of traditional drums and dancing. His Khaftan bathed in the mud, as he join the women in action. The sensational combination of drums and songs compelled the president to join the women in a dance, before he was finally escorted by the cheering crowd to his residence.

See pictorial

Author: by Pa Malick Faye