'Quest' teams training underway
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
In its drive towards preventing and combating locust invasion in The Gambia and the sub-region, the Africa Emergency Locust Project (AELP), The Gambia, last Friday began a five-day Quest Team training workshop, at the Agricultural Rural Farmer Training Centre in Jenoi, Lower River Region.
The training which gathered participants from different key sectors such as Agriculture, Health, National Environment Agency, Water Resource, the military and the media, among others, will be used as an effective locust control mechnism whose responsibility, among others, are to monitor the impact of pesticides on the human and livestock health, as well as environmental imjpact assessment (EIA).
During the course of the training, participants will be exposed to pesticide poisining, first aid and poisining report forms, spray equipment and spraying methods, management of empty pesticide containers, bio-ecology of desent locust, and environmental impact assessment.
Declaring the five-day training opened, Momodou Katim Touray, deputy governor of Lower River Region, deputising for governor Momodou Soma Jobe, said the training will go a long way in the effective control and monitoring of pesticides, human and livestock health and its negative effects on the environment. He added that it will also enhance the capacities of participants in disaster preparedness and mitigation.
He expressed hope that the training will greatly contribute towards the realisation of poverty reduction and health related MDGs, the PRSP, as well as the Vision 2020 objectives. "Disaster preparedness and mitigation is very crucial in disaster related issues such as locust outbreak. The important aspect of this training is the focus of the impact on toxic chemicals which when not properly addressed, will adversely affect the health and population of livestock among others" he said.
He commended the AELP organising the training and urged the participants to make best use of the training and dessiminate the informations at their various units.
For his part, Sheik Tijan Sosseh, project coordinator of the Africa Emergency Locust Project, The Gambia, said the project which is World Bank funded and is operated in seven sub-regional countries, is geared towards strengthening the capacity of various countries to formulate and mitigate the phenomenon of locust invassion. "Against this background, The Gambia formulated both national and regional QUEST teams, which forms an effective locust control mechanism" he said.
"QUEST", which is a French version, according to Mr Sosseh, is a quality control team responsible for ensuring effective locust control and its related aspects such as human health, animal and the environment. He informed participants of their roles and responsibilities as QUEST in sensitising various locust teams, assess the impact of pest on the environment, train locust teams on technical recommendation emanating from assessment reports, monitor the health of various teams and local people and to ensure that locust control teams calibrate the equipments properly.
The AELP project boss then urged participants to take the training seriously and to dissiminate the informations gathered.
Other speakers included Lamin Sonko, director of Technical Services at the National Agricultural Development Agency (NADA), and Jerreh Sanyang, regional agricultural coordinator.
Author: by Hatab Fadera in Jenoi, LRR