Abdoulai G. Dibba
The National Agricultural Land and Water Management Development Project (NEMA), has handed over 26.5 million Dalasi worth of farm equipment to six farmer cooperatives, established by the project.
The farm equipment handed over were six tractors, twelve rice combine harvesters, eighteen rice trans-planters and six rice milling machines.
The beneficiary cooperatives are Genier cluster in Kiang West in the Lower River Region, Kudang and Boiram cluster in Niamina and Lower Fulladou West in the Central River Region South, Manna cluster in Niani Central River Region North, Salikeni and Jurunku cluster in Central Baddibou and Upper Niumi in the North Bank Region.
During the handing over ceremony, the coordinator of NEMA Momodou Gassama, asserted that the challenge confronting the country is food security which he said cannot be attained when farmers use manual labour in their agricultural activities.
With the provision of tractors and rice trans-planters, Gassama said farmers will be able to till the land and cultivate many hectares with ease.
Gassama said the NEMA Project started with the provision of 540 tons of high quality rice seeds which was distributed to their intervention sites which he said, has yielded dividend; that they upgraded farmer organization into cooperatives and ensured that they have legal status to secure them as economic operators; that at present, there are six cooperatives established which have already been named above. He said these farmer cooperatives can now buy produce from farmers and sell them to gain profit to enhance their income.
Gassama said the project has also realized that capacity building is key in strengthening farmer cooperatives; that as a result, they have trained them in book keeping to manage their own accounts base on accounting standards.
He concluded by saying that Regional Agricultural Directors (RADs) as well as the Regional Governors, will monitor the equipment given to farmer cooperatives to ensure sustainability; that Nema will organize a retreat to discuss strategy and plans on the management of the equipment.
The handing over was presided over by the New Minister of Agriculture Amie Fabureh who lauded the efforts of NEMA, in complementing Government efforts.
She asserted that her doors are open to confront the challenges in the Agric. Sector which she said cannot be addressed by an individual and as such, needs all hands-on deck.