The General Manager of the National Enterprise Development Initiative (NEDI) has disclosed that his institution was established to support youth and women in enterprise development so as to enable them to be self-sustaining.
Landing B Sanneh was speaking recently during the opening of the second phase of a five-day food processing and preservation training for 30 youth and women at the Njawara Agricultural Training Centre, North Bank Region.
Funded by The Gambia Commercial Agricultural Value Chain Management Project (GCAV), the training is expected to inspire young people to become entrepreneurs and also create opportunity for youth employability and self-employment. It’s also meant to empower youth and women to enable them take part in agricultural development and the value chain. The Food Technology Service (FTS) under the Ministry of Agriculture is delivering the training.
Sanneh stated: “NEDI is your public entity here to support you in all your enterprise needs and advises. Let be very serious about this training, it changes our lives. Agriculture cannot meaningfully develop without the involvement of young people and women and there cannot be any meaningful enterprise without agriculture, because the raw materials used by people are from agriculture,” he said.
The training according to him, is part of a work plan developed by NEDI in partnership with GCAV to support the youth and women in agricultural value chain management.
“As young people and women, let us take entrepreneurship a way to sustain ourselves and our future. GCAV is here to benefit us, let us take up the opportunity to empower ourselves. Let us focus and work, because is the only thing that can earn you decent living in life,” he stated.
Lamin Darboe, Executive Director of the National Youth Council (NYC), said the training would enable youth to acquire the required skills and competences to make them employable as well as create employment for others.
According to him, GCAV stands tall in terms of delivering services, and making sure that resources are allocated to youth development. These he added, have been manifested through their relationship with NEDI.
“This and other trainings are in line with the Ministry of Youth and Sports policy and strategic plan which is focusing on excellence in youth and sports development,” he explained.
The training, Darboe went on, has the potential to transform not only the lives of the beneficiaries, but also has great potential to transform the entire agricultural landscape into food security and employment creation for young people.
“Youth are the most energetic cohort of our society, educated and technologically friendly generation that we have and these are all necessary to transform our agricultural sector,” he said.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports on behalf of the Government he said, will continue to deliver services and also ensure strategic relations with its strategic partners in term of coordination and delivering the policy priorities.
“The National Youth policy and strategic plan focuses on youth employability through leadership and entrepreneurship. Through this we have implemented series of activities and interventions to not only orient our young people toward the agricultural value chain, but also toward citizenship and productive sector of the economy,” he noted.
Abdoulie Touray, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist at GCVA, said the project recognises youth as very important component of the project, noting that this is why in “our project appraisal document component 2 focuses on how we can improve and develop value chain and entrepreneurship through youth,” he said.
The training he added, is under the support value chain management, component 2 and interested in any value chain actor to acquire the skills to add value to agriculture products.
“After acquiring these skills please develop your very good business plan and come to GCAV for funding. This is what we are looking for from young people,” he told participants.
Seedy Fofana, lead trainer and head of Food Technology Service at the Ministry of Agriculture also spoke at the ceremony.