(Thursday 17 October 2019 Issue)
The equipment include 50 power tillers, 50 rice milling machines, 100 rice threshers, 10 pumping machines for rice production and 100 tarpaulins of various sizes, among other equipment.
These items were fully purchased by the Japanese Government through its funded Kennedy Round 2 (KR2) project to support underprivileged Gambian farmers.
At the handing over ceremony in Banjulinding, agriculture minister Amie Fabureh said the Japanese government provided the grant assistance for the food security project for underprivileged farmers to help increase production of food crops and livestock in developing countries where there is food shortage.
She said from the proceeds of food aid, agriculture equipment such as machinery, seeds and fertilizer are purchased to help in strengthening the capacity and resilience of the farming community.
“The project was formulated based on crop and livestock farmers who continuously grappled with declining rains and degrading soil fertility issues, poor access to agricultural input and machinery, thus resorting to traditional means of production which are characterised by low output and drudgery,” she stated.
Minister Fabureh maintained that the project is crucial to The Gambia’s economy, given the fact that agriculture employs over 70% of the population and more than half of them are women.
The objective of the project, she explained, is to increase production and productivity of key targeted agricultural value chains in line with the ANR policy and the NDP through the provision of equipment, materials, seed e.g vegetables, groundnut, drugs and vaccines geared towards improving livestock production and productivity.
She assured the Japanese Government that the equipment would be put to good use since a sustainability mechanism in the form of a business model plan has been put in place.