By: Kebba AF Touray
The newly appointed Agriculture Minister Amie Fabureh, on Tuesday April 2nd, said agriculture in the country should move from subsistence to commercialization; that this occupies her topmost priority as the Minister in charge of the sector that does not only earn the country foreign exchange, but employs one third of the population especially the youth.
Fabureh disclosed this at the National Assembly, when sharing her Ministry’s priority areas with the Lawmaker, in Banjul. Fabureh asserted that this has been arrived at after series of consultations with stakeholders; that the concerns raised in the National Assembly will be an added impetus for her to improve on the priority areas.
Minister Fabureh asserted that the timely availability of agriculture inputs is her second priority, particularly at this time, when the farming season is fast approaching. She assured that she will do her utmost to ensure that the needed inputs are available on time, especially seeds and fertilizer.
“Promotion of our Agricultural Value Chain is my third priority. Women and other farmers producing vegetables and cereals, and have marketing challenges, can be linked to private Companies and public enterprises through partnerships, to achieve this,” she said.
Minister Fabureh expressed the promotion and strengthening of livestock production as another key area of her priorities to develop agriculture in the country; that this particular sector is broad and its promotion is key; that poultry farming and cattle raring among others, needs to be improved, to enable the country boost this particular sector.
“The fifth priority is the promotion of adaptive research. These are new technologies and we need to promote seed multiplication, so that we can have our own seeds in the country, rather than import them from outside. So it is important to promote this sector,” she told Deputies.
She called on the need to continue the collaboration with donor partners, noting that Government cannot do it alone; that the Ministry will partner with the private sector, CBOs (Community Based Organizations), and Farmer Based Organizations (FBOs), to be able to improve agriculture.
She highlighted the strengthening of human capacity of agricultural institutions under her Ministry’s purview, with a view to bridge the farmer/extension staff ratio, which gap she said is big. This she asserted will create knowledge and skills acquisition platforms for farmers.
Fabureh said mixed farming centers need to be improved to allow farmers gain more knowledge on production and productivity, as well have improved technological knowledge on climate change, for year around cultivation to be realized.
Fabureh said some projects like NEMA, have given some tractors to farmers on grant and assured that the concerns raised by Lawmakers, are well noted; that she will work through the institutions under her purview to pave the way forward for the development of agriculture in the country.