Agric sector gets over US$2.5M Taiwan grant
Thursday, May 17, 2012
The Taiwanese ambassador to The Gambia, Samuel Chen on behalf of his government Wednesday presented a cheque for US$2, 921, 317 to the government of The Gambia.
The money is specifically meant for the procurement of large tractors and other agricultural tools so as to boost agricultural production in the country. Dr Njogou Bah, secretary general and head of Civil Service received the cheque on behalf of the Gambia Government at a brief presentation ceremony held at his office in State House.
Addressing the gathering, Ambassador Chen said he is honoured and privileged to present the cheque to the government of The Gambia for the procurement of tractors and its related equipment in a bid to mechanise the country’s agriculture sector. He explained that this will ensure the production of groundnuts, corn, rice and millet, among a host of others.
He added: “You are aware that the ROC is a strong partner of the government of The Gambia. We always worked together and since there was poor harvest last year, because of some element such as climate change and erratic rainfall and shortage of agriculture machines, upon the request of the Gambia government, we know this agriculture machines and equipment are very important tools for the development of the agricultural sector.“So, we hope that the development of the agricultural sector can be of immense benefit to the people of The Gambia as well as boost the national economy.”
Receiving the cheque, SG Bah, on behalf of the Gambian leader, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Yahya Jammeh thanked the government of ROC for the show of support and solidarity, as The Gambia pushes towards achieving its important goals of food self-sufficiency through mechanised agriculture.
He said: “This support could not have come at a better time looking at what is happening around us and what has happened in the past rainy seasons and the plight of the farmers. Ten years ago, the president called on Gambians to ‘go back to the land’ and ‘grow what they eat and eat what they grow. This is because food self-sufficiency is the only way forward and the only solution to the crisis that grips the world.
He knew that there was coming to be crisis and called on all to go back to the land to produce the food.” The SG pointed out that President Jammeh did not just stop at making the call, but also leads by example, as he is the number one farmer in the country.
He continued: “Not only that, but he has gone further to procure and deliver farming implements such as tractors, fertilizers among others, to assist hardworking farmers to improve on their yields. But because of his desire to see that Gambians get the food that they require, we can only achieve it by engaging in farming. But in farming also, if you don’t have the tools necessary, the yields may be discouraging.”
He further stated that President Jammeh has invested a lot in getting tractors to the farmers and still keeps on working towards getting those farming implements for farmers so as to mechanise the sector.
SG Bah recalled a visit to The Gambia some months ago, by a group of contractors’ from John Deree, a leading South Africa agricultural manufacturer ready to bring some agricultural equipment to the country. “This shows that mechanised agriculture is the only solution and this move today is geared towards realising the food self-sufficiency dream,” he added.
He maintained that the Banjul-Taipei relationship is not based on cheque book diplomacy, but on shared values and mutual trust, saying, “we all respect and care for one and other. This support and solidarity between the two countries is not about one way straight but The Gambia has also been standing side by side with Taiwan in all domains and sincerity to ensure that Taiwan takes it rightful place in the international bodies”.
SG Bah recalled that when disaster struck in Taiwan about three years ago, despite the Gambia’s small economy, the country also donated a handsome amount of money to help those affected. He thanked Allah that the relationship between the two countries is growing from strength to strength everyday, citing the visit to The Gambia by the Taiwanese leader, His Excellency Ma Ying-jeou last month as a clear demonstration of the cordial ties between Banjul and Taipei.
He then assured Ambassador Chen that The Gambia will continue to be on his country’s side for the mutual benefit of the two countries and continue to pursue Taiwan’s cause in the international scene. Ramou Cole- Ceesay, secretary to Cabinet chaired the occasion.
Author: Sheriff Janko