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GEAPP, others present farm implements to President Jammeh

Jun 20, 2011, 3:13 PM | Article By: Lamin B. Darboe

The Gambian leader President Yahya Jammeh Thursday received a variety of farm implements, and two sets of goodwill pumping machines earmarked for his irrigation project.

The presentation by Sierra Leone based agriculturalist, Dr Kenneth Jackson Snr of the Sovereign Church of Elohin International, and Mr Sheikh Tijan Sosseh, coordinator of the Gambia Emergency Agricultural Production Project (GEAPP), was received by President Jammeh at a ceremony held at State House in Banjul.

In receiving the materials, President Jammeh commended the donors for their timely presentation of the farm implements.

According to him, if we are to succeed in agriculture, we should be able to control the circumstances, but with a pumping machine like the one donated to him, water will be available when one wants it, where he/she wants it and how much of it one needs.

“With regard to the tidal irrigation, there is no way you can control the amount of water and you cannot force the river to have high tide when you need it when the river is not ready for that,” he said.

The Gambian leader noted that the machines will go a long way in helping the Gambia make use of its “diamond mine”.

He further commended the coordinator of GEAPP for the statistics he gave about the project, noting that Gambians are not aware of the tremendous achievements being made in the fight against locust invasion in the sub-region.

“So the assistance we offered to other countries in the sub-region, the Almighty Allah has rewarded us in having the Gambia Emergency Africa Locust Program (GEALP) transforming into the Gambia Emergency Agricultural Production Project (GEAPP) which is going to be very useful for the Gambia,” he stated.

Speaking at the handing over ceremony, Dr Jackson Snr, said one of the things that create limitations in food production in the region is that during the dry-season, the land gets dry.

“In Sierra Leone during the dry-season, if you have water you can have high production harvest and these two machines have the capacities,” he said, noting that with proper scheduling of the machines, two to three harvests can be done in a year.

According to him, one of the machines has a pumping distance of twenty-five square miles while the other can cover a distance of three square miles.

For his part, Sheikh Tijan Sosseh, coordinator of GEAPP, whose project presented three power tillers, fertilizers, pesticides and other farm implements to the President, said GEAPP is almost eighteen months old with funding from the World Bank (WB) and the European Commission (EU) to the tune of €5.3m.

According to him, the objectives of GEAPP, which replaced the recently phased out Africa Emergency Locust Project (AELP), is to enhance agricultural production and productivity of twenty thousand farmers across the country, who were identified to be most vulnerable to the food crisis.

He stated that GEAPP has two components, the first of which is the provision of agricultural inputs and equipments under which they were able to procure and distribute 525 metric tonnes of certified seeds across the country, during the 2010 farming season. He said 600 villages across the country benefited.

The Ministers of Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters, and Youth and Sports, Lamin Kaba Bajo and Sheriff Gomez respectively, also spoke at the occasion.