Workshop on biotechnology wraps up

Friday, March 17, 2017

The two-day workshop held at the Paradise Suite Hotel and UTG Brikama Campus was jointly sponsored by the US Embassy Banjul and agricultural stakeholders like the National Agriculture Research Institute (NARI), the National Environment Agency (NEA), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Programme and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The US Embassy Banjul continues to build a strong relationship with the Gambia government and with development partners, in the struggle to combat food insecurity and malnutrition in The Gambia.

The US ambassador to The Gambia, Carolyn Patricia Alsup, speaking at the end of the training course, said biotechnology is an integral part of US agricultural production, and they partner with countries around the world to fund both research collaboration and regulatory framework development aimed at improving agricultural production, as well as improve food security and nutrition around the globe.

According to Alsup, biotechnology has been proven to be an effective tool in agricultural systems worldwide, because the technology holds much potential in the alleviation of food insecurity, enhancing food safety and addressing climate change.

Alsup expressed gratitude to Ms. Aneth David Mwakalili, the expert speaker, for contributing her valuable time to come all the way from his home country to deliver the lectures.

The representative of the ministry of Agriculture, Adama Ngom Njie, said improving farmers’ access to technology is central to meeting the double challenge of closing the development deficit and adapting to climate change.

According to Njie, modern biotechnology research, together with appropriate policies, better infrastructure and traditional research methods have the potential to bring benefits to millions of poor farmers and consumers.

She urged them to be actively involved in the workshop, so that together they could lay the foundation for a definitive treatment of their concerns related to increase food production, and reduce agricultural vulnerability to the impact of pests, viruses and climate change.

She reiterated the Gambia’s government’s appreciation and gratitude to Ambassador Alsup and all the stakeholders in the country - UNDP, WFP, FAO, NEA, among others, for their unflinching support.

Biotechnology increases productivity per units of farmland, reduces malnutrition, improves food quality and safety of some GM crops.

Author: Mahamadou Camara