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AGRICULTURE & DEVELOPMENT: Radville Farm operations manager reflects on achievements, challenges in out-growers programme

Nov 14, 2016, 11:25 AM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

Radville Farm Limited finance and operations manager Sulayman Mboge has outlined constraints and challenges faced during the implementation of the out-growers programme, a World Bank-funded project.

He disclosed these during the recent visit of the National Assembly members to Radville Farm activities located at the airport grounds.

The NAMs recently embarked on visits to all World Bank-funded projects to access their performance, challenges, constraints, shortfalls, achievements and to carve the way forward for improvements.

According to Mr Mboge, the NAMs’ visit was for them to see what Radville Farm is doing in the implementation of the out-growers programme.

He said Radville Farm has succeeded in whatever aspect of implementation of the project.

Mr Mboge also said the major challenges faced during the implementation period of the out-growers programme included tax on all out inputs, cartons, packaging, chemicals and fertilizers, limitation to labour, limitation to freight space, logistics of transportation to Dakar, among others.

He said the World Bank-sponsored project was a matching-grant.

 He added that during the course of the project, Radville Farm limited had registered a lot of success.

According to Mboge, the major problem with the project is sustainability, as is the case of most projects in the end.

 “We are still looking for more land to work with people under our out growers programme,” he said.

He said despites all the success, there are challenges or constraints, which the public needs to know, particularly the lawmakers.

He said  Radville Farm Ltd has been here for the past 30 years, but still has some constraints, as they are competing with other companies from the sister country.

“We are all selling at the same market, but Senegal has some duty waivers free and not paying anything on cartons, among others.”

They have a carton production factory in Senegal; thereby they are not paying any tax, whereas Gambians buy cartons from that same company and bring to The Gambia; as a result they pay tax.

He said Radville Farm is lucky because their parent company in UK is the same company buying from The Gambia, and also from Senegal.

This is the only advantage Gambia has over Senegal, and that without that they would not have succeeded in the project.

 Mr Mboge said for the country to grow they need to focus on agriculture, without which they could not grow.

The National Assembly should come up with policy and plans to help safeguard the interest of agricultural companies, so that it would bring more companies into the country, he added.

According to Mr Mboge, Gambia is endowed with all the natural resources, but what is left is encouraging people to come in.

He commended the First Lady for coming to strengthen the Gambia with the Green Gambia initiative, and in doing so is encouraging more people to go into agriculture.

 He added that what led many to go in for agriculture is the market, at the end of the day.

 Radvile Farm has many advantages, in the sense that any amount that the out-growers produce they would buy everything from them.

“We have a lot of trained agricultural workers, but lack of adequate train horticultural experts,” he said, adding that there should be a curriculum at the University of The Gambia, specifically for horticultural production.

He expressed appreciation about the commitment of the out growers on vegetables and mango, which has made (WEALMOOR Limited) their parent company in UK to win the WAITROSE WAY AWARD 2016.

“This is all due to the involvement of out-growers in our production, and the impact it has in their social life,” he said.

 He said with the farming activities that they are doing, the farm was awarded the most tax-compliant agro company in The Gambia by the GRA.