Services and Producers Association (ASPA), in partnership with the European
Union funded Youth Empowerment Project (YEP), over the weekend completed their
annual three-day buyer-seller meeting with stakeholders in groundnut, cashew
and cereal value chains.
The event was held at Jenoi Agricultural Training Centre in the Lower River Region (LRR), targeted to sensitize value chain stakeholders on the trend, requirements, potential and opportunities in the agricultural sector, and create a forum for them to establish business linkages and partnerships.
Kebba Decks, representative of YEP said farmers understand what is good for them and that was why they met to discuss their own affairs together. “Our work is to help the young people to engage into something meaningful and to discourage the back way syndrome. The reason for us to sponsor the program is because we know majority of Gambians depend on farming and they contribute to the improvement of our economy,” he said.
Mr Decks said 70% of Gambians are farmers, saying it is good to gather agriculture stakeholders to discuss on issues affecting them, and to look at means to improve the farming system. “We realised that farmers harvest and directly sell their crops. That is why we brought someone who will discuss about processing, so that you will be able to sell your crops with good prizes.”
Ousman Sanyang, representative of the agriculture ministry said gathering agriculture stakeholders to discuss the farming sector was an important move, stating that majority of Gambia’s economy came from groundnut and coos. “The meeting will help the stakeholders and the government to recognise each other. Now we know that there are lots of groundnut and not many buyers. Now, what we have to do is to discuss ways forward in solving it.”
Mr Sanyang said lot has changed from the government, saying Gambia used to import rice and now the government thinks it wise to engage farmers in means of cultivating enough rice, instead of just resorting to importing. “In 2018-19, we discussed how to transform the agriculture sector, which included the cooperatives. We know if we want to help the farmers, we must heard their voices and engage them in dialogue for better farming system.”
Chief of Jarra West, Alhagie Yaya Jarjusey, said they have been conducting the meeting for some years. “The meeting is important because it involves stakeholders who contribute crucial role in the productive sector of our economy.”
Pa Gumbo Saine, representative of education minister said the school feeding program is almost stopped but they have tried to gain 30 million dalasis to restart the implementation of the program.