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Agric officials, partners work to improve storage standards

Jun 16, 2011, 2:41 PM | Article By: Yusuf Ceesay

Officials from the Agricultural Department, in collaboration with development partners, yesterday held a training of trainers workshop at the Gambia Technical Teaching Institute on house for household metal silos fabrication of agricultural output storage.

Funded by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the project TCP/GAM/333 is on promotion and diffusion of household silos for grain/seed storage to provide food security in The Gambia.

Speaking at the ceremony, Dr Babagana Ahmadu, FAO Representative to The Gambia, said: “The reduction of post-harvest losses is of great importance in the quest to promote food security, alleviate poverty, create income generation opportunities and foster the economic growth of African countries.”

Cereals, he said, are staple food for millions of poor people in developing countries, adding that significant amounts of food crops produced are lost, which aggravates food insecurity.

According to him, the TCP project aims to transfer this technology to The Gambia through training and demonstration of activities in construction, use and handling of silos as well as monitoring and evaluation of grain/seed storage.

“In The Gambia, staple crops such as early millet, maize, groundnuts and others are stored for 7-8 months in precarious conditions favourable to the development of many insects, rodents, and moulds,” said the FAO representative. 

Dr Ahmadu noted that it is important to maintain crops’ quality and value along the entire chain to ensure that consumers have access to food that is safe and nutritious.

“Food losses contribute to high food prices by removing part of the supply from the market,” he asserted, while reiterating the FAO’s ceaseless efforts in helping developing countries with training advice in post-harvest handling, storage practice, and drying and proper use of insecticides, which can significantly reduce losses.  

Speaking earlier, Ousainou Jobe, Deputy Director Agricultural Engineering, said the event marked another milestone in the history of agriculture on post-harvest technology.

The Gambia is one of the 17 countries where the FAO has introduced the metallic silos technology in the fight against hunger and food security, he said.

The training will continue to other regions in the country, he added, while thanking the FAO for being the number one collaborators in this development drive.

Other speakers on the occasion included Jahou S. Fall, AG Director General of the GTTI and Asheme Cole, DPS of Agriculture.