Services and Producers Association (ASPA) in partnership with Youth Empowerment
Project (YEP) organised a four-day stakeholder meeting, on Friday, at the Jenoi
Agricultural Centre, Lower River Region (LRR).
The overall objective was to bring together all the stakeholders (producers, traders, processors and exporters) in the groundnut, cashew and cereal value chains to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the post-harvest handling (including processing) and marketing of the products in The Gambia and beyond.
The meeting was targeted to meet CPMS, private traders, operators, industrialists, sandika, transporters, value chain in the cashew sector, rice and other cereals associations, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Trade and The Gambia Food Safety and Quality Authority.
Abdoulie Khan, executive director of the ASPA said that ASPA is in line with the consent to support and embody the groundnut sub-sector, and in recognition of government’s efforts to increase production of groundnut and other key crops.
“The Youth Empowerment Project has funded the four-day workshop for the sensitisation, training and capacity building in the handling of the products by stakeholders within the groundnut, cashew and other cereals” he added.
Mr. Khan urged the participants not to hesitate to table out their constraints and suggestions regarding their work, adding that they shouldn’t take agriculture just to solve their family problems but to develop The Gambia’s.
Modou Touray, technical advisor and monitoring and evaluation specialist, Youth Empowerment Project (YEP)-Gambia said that the meeting was important and timely as the selling season is closer so it is necessary to discuss on the issues affecting farmers especially groundnut, cashew and other cereal farmers.
“The project is also aimed at promoting entrepreneurship among youths through business skills and support programmes” he added.
Mr. Touray further elaborated on the main competitiveness issues of the low performance of agriculture, for instance, in recent years due to a range of factors which include the unfavorable macro fiscal stance in recent years, a weak policy and institutional framework, insufficient budgets, rainfall variability and climate shocks among others.
“The strategic objectives for the youth and trade roadmap of agro sector include the developing and reinforcing youth entrepreneurship in agribusinesses sector, reinforcing the production and processing capabilities of in agribusiness sector as well as to develop youth skills through vocational training and update TVET curriculum” he lamented.