New Year’s Message 2017 – by The Most Reverend Hannah Caroline Faal-Heim, Presiding Bishop of The Gambia, The Methodist Church The Gambia
Jan 4, 2017, 10:57 AM
In its bid to ensure effective extension services delivery for enhanced agricultural productivity, the Communication, Extension and Education Services of the Department of Agriculture, with financial support from the Islamic Republic of Iran Office in The Gambia for Agriculture and Rural Development (IGARD), on Tuesday 22nd June started a three-day national refresher training programme for extension workers, on rice production at the Jenoi Training Centre in Lower River Region.
In his remarks to welcome participants, Wally Sanneh the Deputy Governor of LRR commended the Iran Office for funding the training session, and expressed happiness for the high contribution that the Iran office is rendering to the Gambia government.
He also advised the participants to take the training seriously, as agriculture is the backbone of the country’s economy, and that without agriculture, development cannot take place in the Gambia.
He said this training course will yield a lot in for extension workers, as far as agriculture is concerned. "Therefore, your participation in this training is very significant," he said.
The Managing Director of IGARD, Dr. Ali Asghar Kalbasi Esfahani, said this training programme was the fourth programme which his office is supporting so far in the country, aimed at building capacities of farmers and agric. workers.
He further stressed the need to strengthen the capacity of the extension workers who will transfer the knowledge and techniques to the farmers, especially in farming and rice production.
He added that since rice and flour are the staple foods for most Gambians, and the special geographic circumstances provide critical situation for the farmers, it is necessary to enhance improved agricultural production and productivity on a sustainable basis. The project coordinator stated that these training workshops can help to provide extension staff with the required knowledge and skills, to enable them effectively render services for enhanced household food security. He finally expressed appreciation to the communication, extension and education services and Department of Agriculture and all the others who contributed to implement this training programme.
The Director General of the Department of Agriculture, Dr. Sait Drammeh, said the event was another milestone in strengthening the extension services for enhanced services delivery.
"You will all agree with me that human resource development is the bedrock for any meaningful development, hence these training programmes could not come at a better time when the Gambia's visionary leader is taking centre stage towards the attainment of household food security in accordance with the dictates of the Vision 2020 and PRSP blueprints."
He added that this noble objective can hardly be achieved in the absence of a highly motivated and pluralistic extension services delivery system, given the fact that over 90 percent of the production base is illiterate and, therefore, there is the need for continual contact for improved agricultural production and productivity.
He seized the opportunity once more to commend the government and people of the Islamic Republic of Iran through the IGARD office for its invaluable continuous support to the Ministry of Agriculture, particularly in the area of capacity building.