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AGRICULTURE & DEVELOPMENT: Sukuta, Brufut women gardeners trained on best horticultural practices

Apr 1, 2015, 4:38 PM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

(Issue, Monday 30 March 2015)

Hendrik Van Der Giessen from PUM organization, a Netherlands’ senior expert in horticulture, has started conducting a training activity for Sukuta and Brufut horticultural women gardeners on best practices.

The training exercise attracted many women gardeners, and was organized by the Sukuta-Madina  Development Association  with technical expertise from The Netherlands targeting three communities Sukuta, Brufut and Mandinary.

Speaking in an interview with the expert from The Netherland, one Mr Hendrik, he said the “PUM” organization started thirty-five years ago with a clan of businessmen and entrepreneurs in small business.

They started to send out Netherlands’ senior experts to the world to meet with various businesspersons and small medium scale entrepreneurs, to share ideas with them and see possible ways of helping them improve their productivity, he said.

“We are volunteers with twenty-five years of experience in the work of business, and in my own case I’m focused on the area of agriculture. We are about three thousand two hundred volunteers all over the Europe.

“We are supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Neitherlands; they fund our trips. We as experts work for free, and it is not only to come and assist but to write a report about our session with the people.”

Hendrik added that the main aim was geared toward sharing their experience on small business operation and, in particular, horticultural development.

He added that, in Africa, their organization helps in the development of organizations, normally of small and medium scale businesspeople.

“I am here in The Gambia to work for two weeks with Sukuta-Madina Development Organization, and we are working with three village women gardens in Brufut, Sukuta and Mandinary.”

According to Hendrik, upon arriving in The Gambia a week ago, he conducted a training session for horticultural women gardeners in Brufut and Sukuta; and next week he would be at Mandinary.

He said some of the topics were on sharing experiences, and to exchange and adopt best practices; also knowing their constraints, issues affecting them and to table these before the technical expert.

He said during this session, there was a lot of interaction and that was very meaningful to him as an expert.

Mr Der Giessen said there was technical and practical knowledge sharing.

He was impressed by the participation of the women, who were very enthusiastic about his coming to share with them the little knowledge he has.

Muhamed F. Jabbi, the principal of Brufut Upper Basic School, said the Sukuta-Madina development association is an organization registered in The Gambia, and had embarked on a lot of development activities, particularly in the Sukuta-Madina community.

According to Mr Jabbi, women’s empowerment is key to national development and the best way to do that is to empower their productivity in the gardening areas, and increased their capacity.

Therefore, he added, the importance of horticultural gardening to their livelihood could not be measured, as most women pay their children school fees through this horticultural gardening.

 He said more than 90 percent of our produce in The Gambia is produced by the women, whether in the rice fields and gardens, and they are in the informal sector.

He said the best way to help them is by empowering them through those gardens and rice-fields.

According Mr Jabbi, his organization thought it fitting to invite this expert to come to The Gambia to help our women on the ground, to boost their productivity at the gardens so as to produce more.

He said the Brufut garden has about three hundred women, and the Sukuta garden also about that number.

He thanked The Nertherlands’ expert for his commitment and hard work, as well as the women of the various gardens for giving the expert for a warm welcome in The Gambia.

This was a clear indication that Gambian women are committed to ensuring that the importation of vegetables becomes a thing of the past in the country, he said.

He also expressed his impressions about the active participation of Mr. Hendrik.
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