Sep 1, 2011, 1:45 PM
A five million dalasi agricultural project was on Wednesday launched by the Association of Farmers Educators and Traders (AFET) in partnership with Fandema project in Brikama.
Funded by the EU and Agricord – Belgian through ASPRODEB-AGEP – Senegal, the three year project, which is expected to phase out in October 2015, is basically providing funding for the establishment of four Co-operative Certified Seed Producers’ Societies (two societies for groundnut seeds and two for maize seeds).
The project, among others, seeks to promote four cooperative seed production societies in The Gambia; produce certified groundnut and maize seeds and supply the market at a price accessible to the agricultural family farms or smallholders; and to support the certification and marketing of the seeds produced.
In a launching statement delivered on his behalf by Sheriffo Bojang, deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Solomon Owens, minister of Agriculture, said the launching of the project is in line with the government’s needs and aspirations, as well as being a particular concern to his ministry.
According to him, the ministry of Agriculture is aware and sensitive to the fact that the policy blueprints for the realization of President Jammeh’s vision for the ministry cannot be a reality without the availability of quality seeds, and at an affordable price to farmers.
Owens noted that the main objectives of this innovative project would serve as a model, and a very effective means of orienting the small holder farmer to produce and market certified groundnut and maize seeds.
He further stated that with agriculture providing food and income to about 70% to 80% of the population, the initiative has the potential to contribute towards the realization of increased food security and poverty eradication, by providing farmers with the required factor to increase the volume and quality of our major cash crop, that can be marketed not only locally but beyond our borders, and thereby generate foreign exchange for the country.
Seedy Bensouda, National President of AFET, said the project is one of the biggest projects AFET had ever secured in terms of monetary value.
Other speakers at the launching included Lamin Sonko, a representative of the Governor of the West Coast Region, and Dawda Kujabi, Secretary General of AFET.
Meanwhile, the launching of the project also witnessed the presentation of items including desktop computers, laptops, printers, photocopiers, scanners, motorcycles, digital cameras, executive chairs and desks to the project beneficiaries.