Dec 4, 2009, 11:53 AM
Mariama Fatajo was speaking recently in Kerewan at a three-day training of trainers for 15 farmers drawn from North Bank and West Coast Regions on cashew apple processing and preservation.
She noted that GIEPA with support from Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) project of the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment, facilitate and providing such support.
The director noted that the mandate of GIEPA is to promote and facilitate investment, business, export development and enterprise development.
She said the need for building the capacity of farmers is high and as a result, GIEPA and EIF attach great importance to it.
Generally it is evident that large numbers of apple are wasted during cashew season, as most attention is given to nuts than apple, she said, adding that cashew apple would increase income and boost cashew production.
She said there is high potential of market demand size and called on WFP and Mother Nutrition Programme to help promote marketing, noting that it would increase and promote nutritional uptake from cashew apple products.
Cashew apple processing would contribute to address malnutrition among children, she said.
Alpha Ousman Jallow, executive secretary of Cashew Alliance Gambia apex organizations, said the training would help farmers to diversify and increase standard and value on processing of cashew apple.
Involvement of GIEPA is crucial, as it would help to explore in the marketing of products in and outside the country, he said.
He hails the efforts of the Ministry of Trade and EIF with support from International Trade Centre, for mobilizing resources in enhancing capacity of producers and processors.
The skills would contribute to enhance value addition on products, he said and acknowledged that cashew is underexploited due to low capacity to process. He also said that farmers need to increase production at all levels.
Building capacity of cashew farmers on apple processing and preservation would contribute to promote food security and income of producers and processors, Mr Jallow stated.
Awa Marie Gomez, Project Consultant of TEFA Global Solution, noted that building the capacity on cashew apple processing and preservation technologies would increase nutritional development of families, income and reduce post-harvest loss on cashew.
Promotion of innovation technology of cashew apple processing would obviously enhance sustainable livelihood and empower farmers to increase production, she added.
Sheriff Manneh, National Auditor Cashew Farmer Federation, said the association is fully committed to encourage farmers to go for cashew production.
He noted that the association would distribute 300,000 cashew seedlings for farmers in North Bank, Central River and Upper River Regions.
The planting of cashew would contribute to restore forest cover and enhance economic growth, Mr Manneh said, adding that technologies would reduce wastage on cashew apple and empower farmers to provide some of the finished products to poultry and livestock.
Lamin Jobe, Food Technology Service at the Department of Agriculture, said the training would reduce post-harvest loss of agro-products and increase marketing.