Nov 12, 2008, 5:25 AM
The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) recently held a business forum with vegetable dealers, rice producers and food processors to help them enhance their level of production and productivity, as well as pave a way for marketing.
Speaking at the forum held at the Independence Stadium in Bakau, Beatrice Mboge, Director of Corporate Services at GCCI, said that during the trade fair they did all they could to reach out to the people to boost the services of the farmers, especially vegetable sellers.
“We are doing our utmost best to keep the public informed about the trade fair, and we keep informing hotels and supermarket dealers to network with farmers so as to expand your various businesses,” she said.
She indicated that farmers need to be supported to increase their productivity. This could only be done by business people such as restaurant dealers, supermarket dealers and hotels.
The GCCI, she said, is out to help farmers, producers, suppliers and dealers and other people network through various avenues and platforms, including with trade fairs.
She said they at the chamber are doing their best to promote and boost The Gambia’s agriculture sector and produce, because it is through this that most farmers earn their living.
The head of the NEMA Project in The Gambia, Modou Jabang, in his remarks on the occasion, disclosed that NEMA was founded to address whatever problem farmers are facing and help remedy the situation, especially those farmers upcountry.
He pointed out that women and farmers should be contributing more to rice and vegetable production, as it is through these two crops of food production that the agricultural sector is growing fast in every country.
He said farmers in upcountry face road infrastructure constraints, and recommended that roads in those areas should be properly rehabilitated so as to help farmers improve their production.
“We are having 22,000 projects that NEMA is funding in order to support and encourage farmers, especially excelling in vegetable and rice production.”
Mr Jabang further stated that they are also helping farmers to increase production efficiency and prevent perishable goods, especially for the vegetable dealers.
The restaurant manager at the Ocean Bay Hotel, Famara Sanneh, in his remarks, said they are ready to work with and promote farmers and vegetable dealers, as they are always willing to buy their produce.
He urged farmers to be producing good vegetables, pointing out that all they deal with is food items that are good and healthy.
Mariama Ceesay, a food producer at Brikamaba Dasilameh, lamented the numerous problems they are facing in their various areas, and which are affecting their produce and productivity.
She said they are especially facing difficulty in accessing water. “This is delaying us and seriously affecting our productivity,” she added.
She thanked NEMA and GCCI for their support to them over the years, and called on other institutions to follow suit by supporting farmers’ agricultural endeavours in the country.
“It is through agriculture that we and our families survive,” Mariama said, adding that the nation also depends on agriculture.
Fatou Samba, a groundnut processor, also expressed similar sentiments.