GAF eyes $125M agric project

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Gambia Armed Forces is set to embark on a large scale agricultural project aimed at addressing the country’s food self-sufficiency drive.

Lamin K. Sanyang, the GAF spokesperson who made this disclosure at a recent press briefing at the Defence Headquarters, further indicated that the ambitious agric project is targeting an amount of US $ 125,000,000 (One Hundred and Twenty Five Million US dollars).

Major Sanyang maintained that the move is part of fulfilling their constitutional requirement as gallant men and women in uniform and that the mega agric project is targeting more than 50 thousands hectares of lands in both CRR North and South.

 “The GAF concept paper on the estimated cost of the agricultural project initially was Four Million US Dollars. However, the AGCO Group from South Africa which GAF is working with is talking about One Hundred and Twenty Five Million US Dollars,” he said

The AGCO Corporation is an American Company with its regional headquarters in South Africa, and is a global leader in the design, manufacture, and distribution of agricultural equipment. The beauty of partnering with AGCO, Major Sanyang added, is that once the lands are identified, the company will come and do the mapping of the lands in the country at no cost to the government.

“What we are doing in CRR at the moment is to identify the lands and the company will come and do the mapping of the soils to indicate whether the lands in question are arable for rice, millet among others,” he stated.

He said that youth who will be employed under the project are being assured of a salary, underscoring the importance of food security in the development of any country.

 “We are not only talking about human security which we are providing, but we can extend our mandate to even provide food security. We’ve seen a number of projects that are coming and how money has been injected into those projects in ensuring food security. However, with our organisation and our discipline and our focus I think we will do better in ensuring that the country is food self-sufficient.”

Essa Tamba, director of Social Welfare of the GAF, who doubles as the Focal Person of GAF agricultural project said the lands on which they intend to do their projects were given to them by the communities. However, he was quick to add that they didn’t pay anything on those lands and that’s why they are using them for the projects.

“Thirty percent of the workforce in any given community will come from the community themselves so that they will be able to know what is being produced from their farms. The Gambia Armed Forces are not going to hide anything from them. Therefore, the regional governor of CRR is working with those communities where we’re going to have our projects in order to have the documentation of those lands,” he noted.

Tamba further noted that the lands have not been bought by GAF and that they still belongs to the community.

Mr. Tamba disclosed that they will also be focusing on animal husbandry, poultry among others. “We want to start with five million poultry birds which is in fact more than the population of the country. And if the project is successful we don’t even need to import chickens in the country.”

Author: Momodou Jawo