URR farmers sensitised on PAGE, others
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Farmers in the Upper River Region were on Tuesday exposed to the contents of the Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE), the Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy, as well as The Gambia National Agriculture Investment Plan (GNAIP) during a two-day capacity building synergy organised by the Ministry of Agriculture.
Coming a few weeks before the National Farmers’ Conference kicks-off later this month in Janjangbureh, the training, organised in Basse, brought together farmers in the seven districts of URR. The composition of the participants included rice farmers, cotton growers, livestock farmers, horticultural gardeners, amongst others.
The meeting accorded the farmers the opportunity to better understand the various agricultural national blueprints, highlight their challenges, as well as come up with tangible recommendations that Region Six will be presenting at the National Farmers’ Conference.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the director general of the National Agriculture Research Institute (NARI), Lamin Jobe harped on the importance of the training, which he said will give them the opportunity to listen to the constraints and challenges of the farmers in the region, as well as to share knowledge and experience with them in order to come out with good resolutions.
Jobe underscored the importance of agriculture as a major productive sector, that he said creates income and employment forthe people. He stated that the government of the Gambia has and continue to spend a lot of resources in boosting the agriculture sector, thus commending its efforts in expediting food self-sufficiency campaign in the country.
The NARI boss said agriculture is not only a source of providing food but that it is also the leading sector in the country that can create businesses. He stressed that the development of the sector requires the commitment of all sectors, in view of the fact that it is the back bone of the socio-economic development of the country.
Also speaking at the occasion, the regional agriculture director for Region Six, Mbemba Dahaba commented on the significance of the training, which he said will help farmers better understand the various policies of the sector. Noting that agriculture is high on the agenda of the government, Dahaba stressed the need for all hands to be on deck in the march towards improving the sector to enhance food self-sufficiency in the country.
While emphasising that agriculture is one of the sectors that contribute rapidly in the development process of the country, the Region Six agricultural director stressed that everyone has a role to play in reducing significantly the level of poverty in this country. He stressed that the sector has and continue to receive attention from the government and development partners; hence describing the Basse convergence as very essential.
Meanwhile, farmers at the meeting took turns to highlight the numerous constraints and challenges that they continued to facein their farming endeavours. Chief among the constraints raised by the farmers included lack of marketing of farm produce, inadequate knowledge about agriculture, as well as inadequate farm inputs; such as fertilizers, seeds, implements, amongst others.
Farmers therefore seized the opportunity to appeal to the Ministry of Agriculture to help them address those issues, as well as assist in encouraging the teeming mass of young people to take up farming activities in order to alleviate poverty.
Author: Momodou Jawo in Basse, URR