Research scientists commence plant breeding course

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Senior and junior research scientists from National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) yesterday commenced a five-day training course on rice, maize and groundnut breeders in The Gambia on the concepts and principles of plant breeding and Participatory Varietal Selection (PVS) at the agricultural research institute’s head office in Brikama.

Officials of The Gambia College School of Agriculture and the National Coordinating Organisation of Farmer Associations Gambia (NACOFAG) are also participating in the training course.

Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations is providing both technical and financial assistance. The course targets to develop the next generation of young breeders to adapt modern tools for enhancing the precision and efficiency of their breeding programmes.  It will provide theoretical background on modern breeding methods and techniques including use of biotechnology, experimental techniques, planning, information management tools and software.

“This is a rare opportunity for us and any activity that will upgrade our skills and understanding of the agricultural development trend is welcome,” NARI director of Cropping System, Dr. Lamin Sonko said.

Gambia is a net importer of food and produces only half of its national requirements of staple foods. The government’s effort to address the deficit in the agriculture sector has resulted in designing a project aimed at creating sustainable production and productivity of crops and livestock; reduce food insecurity, malnutrition and create enabling environment for improved national economy.

Ansumana Jarju, director general of NARI said people’s interest matter in everything, appealing to the researchers to give all their best and attention to the training. “We count on you for agricultural researches.”

Author: Amadou Jallow