OJ: Spending millions of dollars on seed purchasing must stop

Friday, June 29, 2018

The minister of Agriculture, Omar Amadou Jallow, has said that the millions of dollars spent to buy seed outside the country has to stop, saying this can only stop if government put the right policies and emphasises in place.

“Seed production has to be developed and promoted so that seed production becomes commercial ventures that will not only benefit farmers, but also for those who are the producers of seeds.”

O.J. Jallow was speaking recently in the North Bank Region settlement of Farafenni during the opening of the first ever Seed Fair. The event which attracted farmers across the regions was organised by the National Seed Secretariat under the Ministry of Agriculture with funding from the Food and Agricultural Organisation on (FAO).

Minster Jallow underscored the significance of research, describing it as one of the most fundamental developments in agriculture.

 “Without research, we cannot pursue the transformation and modernisation of what we need in agriculture particularly with the present difficulties that the agricultural sector is facing like climate change and other difficulties,” he said.

He thus reiterated government’s continued commitment and the importance it attaches to agricultural development, thus promising farmers that the fair would be a continuous event.

“It will be held annually in all the different regions in order to enable farmers have access to quality seeds.”

For her part, Madam Katepa Kalala, the FAO Representative in The Gambia, commended government for their continued support towards the development of agriculture in the country and for creating the National Seed Secretariat. Research inputs, she went on, is very fundamental and thus stressed the need for strengthening support in the extension services.

She indicated that extension involves three different sources such as the department of agriculture, the farmer field schools and input dealers.

Dr. Adetumbi Jonhson Adedayo, FAO seed consultant dwelled on the importance of quality seeds.  “One cannot talk about food without quality seeds. The issue of seed must not be taken for granted as quality seeds can predict yield.”

Other speakers at the event include, Morro Manga, the director of Seed Secretariat, Sariyan Jobarteh, the director general of Agriculture, Jim Fatma Jobe, chief of Jokardu and the regional director of agriculture, NBR, Mustapha Drammeh, who all expressed similar sentiments.

Author: Momodou Jawo