The National Agriculture Research Institute (NARI), on Tuesday conducted a tour of its research farm site III in Banjulinding. The tour team headed by Ansumana K. Jarju, the Director General of NARI, comprised of experts from NARI, NGOs and the Government.
The initiative is part of their bid to advance agricultural research in The Gambia. The field presentations were focused on soil fertility and fertiliser study on key commodities, national and intentional germ plasma evaluation, varietal adaptability trial of findi, soya bean, wheat, improved groundnut and cowpea varieties.
Speaking at the site, DG Jarju stated that NARI is set up with the mandate to improve agriculture production through client-oriented adaptive research and improve production of crops, livestock and sustainable natural resource management in the production systems.
The Banjulinding Site III, he explained, is a 50-hectare fenced farm where other partners such as the Office of The President, Ministry of Agriculture and Prisons Department are accommodated to deliver seasonal farming in support to national food security.
“The importance attached to this visit cannot be over-emphasised as it creates awareness to the public and stakeholders to know the projects and programmes we have at the farm. The research programmes are commodity and system based supported by laboratory analytical services”, Jarju noted.
He thanked the President Jammeh through the Ministry of Agricultural for progress being made the agriculture sector.
Dembo NA. Trawally, Principal Research Officer at NARI, said the research farm enables them to cultivate and introduce the best to the farmers.
He assured of the Research Institute’s resolve to continue to do its best in the development of agricultursector in The Gambia.
Absa Jaw, a Senior Research Officer at NARI disclosed that cereal programme is one of the biggest programmes at NARI and that one aims of the programme is to make a genetic improvement on cereal cultivation in The Gambia. She informed that the farm has various types of cereals with different varieties from different places.
Kebba Drammeh, also a senior research officer at NARI, named the different types of crops available on the site. “Here we have 12 different types of cowpeas with the objective of screening them under Gambian condition. We are trying to see how they will perform against the local ones and select the best one for national and further testing”, he explained.
Ousman Sowe, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources, expressed good impressions about the research visit,and commended NARI for taking what he described as a giant step towards agricultural development. “This research visit is essential for the fact that it involves activities that are vital to the agricultural development of this nation”, he stated.
by Modou Lamin Jammeh