Youth & Sports Ministry to revive Nyaniberry Farm
Friday, June 15, 2012
The Ministry of Youth and Sports is poised to revive the Nyaniberry Farm of the National Youth Service Scheme situtated in Kombo Central, West Coast Region, as part of efforts to contribute to the food security drive, and equipping the youths with relevant skills in agriculture.
This was disclosed to the Daily Observer Wednesday afternoon during a site visit to the 30-hectare farm by the minister of Youth and Sports, Alieu Kebba Jammeh, and officials of the Ministry.Minister Jammeh told this reporter that considering the potential of the farm in terms of contributing to food security, as well as in training the young people in different components of agriculture such as horticulture, animal husbandry and bee keeping amongst others, its revival is very significant.
He said that from the latter part of last year to date, his Ministry has invested to improve the water system at the farm. He said a solar system has been provided with a borehole that can pump water to the maximum of 300, 000 liters. He disclosed that there is a banana plantation of one hectare, which would be extended to 1.5 hectares.
Minister Jammeh explained that within the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) they signed with the Ministry of Fisheries and Water Resources regarding the farm, they are convinced that the two can do a pilot aquacultureproject at the farm with the potential of training young people in this domain of farming.
While disclosing further that 25 green youths will be trained and employed at the farm, the Youth and Sports minister said they will cater for the cultivation of maize, rice and a variety of mango called rubi, which is exported to the United Kingdom, at the farm. He indicated that the Ministry will work on marketing strategies to link with the international market for the exportation of the mango, while adding that there used to be a poultry project.
Emphasising that water is a problem at the farm, the minister averred that the area is already cleared in preparation for the upcoming cropping season. “We want the private sector to come on board and support us especially now that the young people are ready to answer to the call of the president. The logic is that if we don’t produce what we eat and continue depending on imported goods, the health and economic cost should be considered,” he underscored.
After touring the length and breadth of the country where he held fruitful discussions with the teeming young people of the country, Minister Jammeh affirmed their readiness to go back to the land in the march towards making The Gambia the bastion of food. But he was quick to urge all youth organisations in the Kombos to identify a place for farming purposes, as that can earn them revenue for their activities. “The project is for the young people, we want to train them and stop giving loans so that after the training they can open their own businesses and be independent,” he noted.
The Youth and Sports minister also used the opportunity to justify the importance the Gambian leader attached to farming, saying this is so because agriculture is the backbone of any vibrant economy. With a vibrant agriculture, he posited, the money spent on imported goods could be diverted to other sectors like construction, health and education amongst others.He disclosed that it is in the Ministry’s plan to add value to the locally produced fruits through a processing facility that is under construction.
The farm manager, Mamat Nyang said that the farm has so far struggled to get one hectare of banana plantation, though it is one of the biggest youth farms in the country.
Author: Zainab Faal