Exact number of tractors sized is unknown- Says O.J.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

The minister of Agriculture has told deputies at the National Assembly that since the tractors were not under the direct control and care of his Ministry, he cannot tell the exact number or quantity being seized.

Omar O.J. Jallow was speaking on Wednesday during a question-and-answer session at the National Assembly regarding the total number of tractors that have been seized.

He, however, recalled that sometime in January this year, a technician from the Ministry of Agriculture’s engineering services went on a nationwide assessment of tractors.

“Only and most of these tractors are on downtime. They didn’t have access to those that were seized and parked at various police stations.

Minister Jallow stated that these tractors were seized because they are a subject of an ongoing investigation at the Commission of Inquiry looking into the dealings of the former president, saying they are confirmed to be purchased with funds from Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation (SSHFC).

Regarding his ministry’s long term plan, Minister Jallow disclosed that his ministry is working on a nationwide mechanisation policy that will define the purchase, distribution and usage of farm machinery including tractors.

“We intend to purchase new fleet of tractors and constitute a ploughing team in all regions to be offering hired ploughing services to farmers and any other mechanisation activities.

Minister Jallow further informed deputies that Food and Agriculture Service Development Project (FASDEP) under the Youth Agriculture Service Schemes with NEDI have organised three youth groups at the Jahally Pacharr Area that will be equipped with tractors, power tillers and other equipments for various operations including ploughing.

This, he said, would not only provide the required services to farmers in the area, but would as well create employment for the youths.

He noted that his ministry is also partnering with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation in three areas designed to address food insecurity in The Gambia, as well as increase purchasing power of vulnerable households in the targeted regions through Cash for Work/ technical supervision by Soil and Water Management Unit of the Department of Agriculture.

According to him, 20 to 40 hectares of rice field in the Central River Region (Jahally Pacharr and Sukuta) has been rehabilitated using Cash for Work methodology, and that 1000 households with malnourished children benefitted from the intervention.

“A total of 10 Million dalasi has been disbursed over six month for payment of workers, adding that cash for work will be purchased in other regions.

Author: Njie Baldeh