Jun 26, 2009, 6:15 AM
Agribusiness Services Unit under the department of agriculture with funding from Food Agricultural Sector Development Project (FASDEP) Friday commenced a five-day farmers training on leadership skills, business management plans, organisational structures and other related business agricultural skill acquisitions.
Held at Jenio Rural Farmer Training Centre, the training was aimed at strengthening the capacity of the farmers in improving their earning capacity through adoption of better business strategy plans.
It brought about fifty farmer representatives from various group organizations across the country and individual business entity.
In his statement, Cherno Mballow, registrar of cooperative and head of Agribusiness Services Unit under the department of agriculture, explained that his unit is closely collaborating with Food Agricultural Sector Development Project (FASDEP) to train farmers in certain disciplines.
He noted that the training was focusing on leadership, organizational structures and business management, especially on agricultural strategy.
Mr Mballow said there had been so much emphasis on production over the years, but they would focus on agriculture commercialization as a business, moving from subsistence agriculture to commercialisation.
Therefore, he added, the new paradigm shift was to ensure agriculture go along with the value chain from production to the table.
That means farmers have to be trained not only on production but also on processing, marketing, business management, leadership and group management, which are key issues to which Agribusiness expected to expose the farmers during the five-day training so that by the time FASDEP, the main funding activities of the farmers training, rolled out the implementation program or activities, farmers would be in a position to have reasonable skills to be able to a carry out effectively and efficiently their business plans, he stated.
He said the training was also targeting small ruminant breeding farmers to equip them with the requisite skills to effectively manage their group market produce and to better help the farmers to carry out their business monitoring to determine whether they are making profit in their business.
Agribusiness involved all the value chain players, such as marketers, processors, transporters, producers, vendors and other businesses related to agriculture.
He spoke at length about the mandate and the activities of Agribusiness, saying their mandate is to regulate all the cooperatives relating to agricultural development, auditing for the society and other issues like marketing and facilitating training for farmers on various activities, as well as providing services capacity building and business linkages within organisations.
In his official opening statement, the Governor of Lower River Region, Salifu Puye, said building the capacity of the farmers in improving their production and productivity was key and in line with the President’s vision.
He commended the Gambian leader for taking the lead in empowering the farmers to go back to the land and ‘grow what you eat and eat what you grow’.
He challenged the farmers to take the training seriously as these are government projects to improve the livelihood of the farmers.
Hawawu Barry, Agribusiness marketing officer, highlighted some of the expectations of the training in the thematic areas the participants would be exposed to during the five-day, as well as some recommendations for their business strategy plans that would be of impact and improve their daily business and livelihood.