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AGRICULTURE & DEVELOPMENT: Trade Ministry donates packaging equipment to cashew enterprises

Jul 20, 2015, 10:03 AM | Article By: Adama K. Jallow

The Ministry of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment (MOTIE) Thursday handed over packaging machines and other related items worth over D700,000 to three enterprises, namely Cashew Company Limited in Brikama, Gambia Horticulture Enterprise (GHE) in Old Jeshwang and Jawneh and Family Cashew Processing Centre also in Brikama.

The materials were handed over by the Minister of Trade, Abdou Jobe, and received by Modou Ceesay Gambia of Horticulture Enterprise’s CEO on behalf of the beneficiaries.

In his statement, Trade Minister Jobe, said the handing over of the materials is another milestone in the implementation of the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) Programme under the Competitiveness and Export Diversification Project (SCEDP).

Minister Jobe said the SCEDP aims to strengthen targeted sector competiveness, promote new business opportunities in domestic, regional and international markets, generate additional income, as well as create employment.

“The project targets agriculture sector support for cashew nuts, groundnuts and sesame, as well as inclusive tourism with its key focus is to find export opportunities, product diversification, improved value addition, quality enhancement and strengthens sector support for institutions.”

The SCEDP is one of the three projects funded by the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) programme, which includes the Tier 1 project support to National Implementation Arrangements (NIA), to build the capacity of the National Implementation Unit (NIU) and trade related institutions to deal effectively and efficiently with trade policy development and implementation, trade integration and facilitation for the greater benefit of the Gambian economy, he went on.

The Tier 2 ‘Trade facilitation through increases logistics infrastructure and services at the Banjul International Airport.

This is to promote trade facilitation and enforce logistics infrastructure and services at the Banjul International Airport, through improved institutional arrangements, building human capacity and providing support to ensure transparent, secure and competitive airport services that are available to exports and smallholder businesses, he added.

According to the Trade minister, this project is at an advanced stage of building a modern cargo complex with latest technology to handle cargo.

In her remarks, Naffie Barry, permanent secretary at the Trade ministry, said the items consist of a continuous sealing machine with a coding system; a gas flushing device with packaging materials such as Zip-lock plastic pouch to improve the quality and look of the product.

Mrs Barry highlighted the importance of having good quality packaging, to be able to make the products more attractive and presentable to the local and international markets.

“A professionally designed and self-adhesive labels and barcodes are also provided in 50g, 100g, 200g, 500g, and 1kg sizes,” Mrs Barry added.

In receiving the Items, Modou Ceesay, GHE chief executive officer, on behalf of the beneficiaries thanked the Trade ministry for the gesture, while assuring all that the items would help them a long way in the improvement of their products.

Mr Ceesay noted that this was one of the challenges they were facing in their work, but the Ministry has now provided it to them.

The processing of cashew is 10 times more valuable than the raw cashew nut, and that about 99 per cent is all exported and only one percent is left for processing.

In addition, he highlighted the high cost of the raw cashew nuts, and express concern on improving on that issue.

Mr Ceesay said that cashew processing has a lot of advantage in creating employment, and assured all that they would make best use of the machines and the other donated Items.

He further thanked the ministry and the project steering committee for their support.