Friday, July 19, 2019

Stakeholders Meet To Discuss Opportunities, Challenges In Agric. Sector


Abdoulai G Dibba

The Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) in collaboration with value chain stakeholders in groundnuts, cashew and the cereal sectors in Agriculture, organized a three day stakeholder’s meeting at the Jenoi Agricultural Training Center.

The objectives of the meeting according to the organisers, is to sensitise value chain stakeholders on the trends, requirements, potentials, and opportunities in the agricultural sector, particularly for groundnut, cashew and cereals, and to create a forum for producers, buyers, processors and exporters, to establish business linkages and partnerships.

“This is in support of Government’s efforts to dramatically increase production and value addition of groundnut and other key crops including cashew and cereals, and enhancing the quality and food safety of the products,” stated the Organisers.

The Organisers indicated that they recognize the enhancement of the country’s competitiveness in marketing of her products, making it pertinent for value chain stakeholders to discuss marketing and quality issues among others; that it is against this background that YEP has agreed to organize a three day workshop for the sensitization, training and capacity building, in the handling of products by stakeholders within the groundnut, cashew and cereals value chains.

“The workshop will give special attention to marketing and quality management issues of these crops,” they said.

Speaking at the ceremony on behalf of the Manager, Modou Touray indicated that YEP is for Gambians and they as the project’s managers, are committed to sponsoring Gambian youth in their developmental plans; that the sensitization is for agriculture stakeholders to discuss and improve the way forward.

“YEP empowers young people and all the sectors involved or in line with the youth, for their own future benefit. We train youth in businesses for them to contribute their quota in national development,” he said.

Sariyang Jobarteh the Director General at the Department of Agriculture, indicated that since independence, the Gambia has made strides towards improving the Agriculture sector, in achieving food security.

He however said that the population has increased but food grain production has not equated with population growth; that thus a decrease in available food-grain per capita.

DG Jobarteh noted that an important role of the Government apart from providing funds for the sector, is to create an enabling environment for private investment.

“This needs to be done through tax rationalization, duty exemptions, increase in public spending, priority sector and others,” he said; that it is such steps that will boost private sector investment in the value chain sector, such as infrastructure and services, which will lead to a reduction in waste.

Alhagi Yahya Jurjusey, the chief of Lower River Region and a representative of Farmer Associations, appreciated the initiative of helping farmers which he said, is the surest way of fighting against poverty and unemployment; that if the agricultural sector is developed, the youth may not venture in illegal migration.

“Farmers should enjoy their labour and Government should not put their own interest to affect farmers who have suffered since independence,” he urged.

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