The Minister for Agriculture on Monday presided over the launching of the new Agriculture Value Chain Development Project (AVCDP) in Mansajang, Basse, URR.
The US$8Million project funded by the African Development Bank through the government of The Gambia seeks to contribute to food and nutrition security, and create shared wealth and jobs. The five-year project, which will be based predominantly in the Upper River Region, also seeks to increase on a sustainable basis, the income of rural producers, entrepreneurs that are engaged in the production, processing, storage and marketing of rice and livestock.
Speaking at the launching, Honourable Ismaila Sanyang said the project would ensure that the region contributes immensely towards household food security within URR and by extension contributes to national food security.
The project, he added will establish a 500-hecter of pump irrigation within what will be referred to as pump perimeters and also build three stores buildings which will contribute towards post harvest loses. He added that within the rice value chains, there will be five large drying floors.
“Because what happens when farmers harvest their rice is there is never an avenue for them to dry their rice appropriately which has consequences in terms of food security, but in the event we are food self-sufficient, exporting rice is a concern,” he affirmed.
“The project will also build a 30-kilometer access road because to get to the rice fields is always a challenge for many farmers, so the project will build roads to ensure that farmers have easy access to their fields. We are also going to look at in terms of market access, processing among others.”
The project will also purchase three tractors and buy 16 power tillers for beneficiary farmers. “Am confident that the people of the region are going to help the project implementing team in ensuring that the project achieves its fundamental objectives,” he added. “We are not going to compromise on the project; we want 100% of the project objectives to be achieved.”
The permanent secretary, Ministry of Finance, Lamin Bojang said his Ministry will make sure that there is quality supervision to ensure that the project meets its development objectives. He added that they will be involved in the site visits to ensure that physical implementation of the project’s activities are done and on time.
“Most project delays we have in The Gambia is as a result of procurement delay, this is something we are urging them to take note of,” PS Bojang said, while urging them to ensure that there is project consultation with all stakeholder with a view to ensuring that there is ownership.
The regional governor, Alhaji Omar Sompo Ceesay commended President Jammeh for bringing such an important project to his region. “Huge amount of money is been involved in the project; therefore, we at the Governor’s Office will never compromise about the project, because you are not the only villages in URR, other villages are here and want to benefit from the project,” he warned.
The project director, Dr. Buli Famara Sanyang said the project would contribute to food and nutrition security and create jobs. The objectives of the project, he said is to increase the income of rural producers, entrepreneurs and processors with a view to enable them increase their wealth and income and contribute to food security.
He added that URR is selected because of the immense potentials in the region, especially livestock, and also there is high potential of rice production in the area. “Already a lot of poultry has been developed by others projects in other parts of the country and I know URR have also benefited from LHDP project,” Dr. Sanyang said of the poultry component of the project.
The national coordinator, Central Projects Coordinating Unit, Momodou Mbaye Jabang said the AVCDP project is part of the fulfillment of a promise President Jammeh made to the people of the region. He urged the beneficiary village to work hand-in-glove with the project implementing team with a view to ensure that they achieve their fundamental objectives.
by Momodou Jawo in Basse, URR