Oct 27, 2016, 9:35 AM
The MoU signing ceremony also witnessed the handing over of five hand tractors by the government of Indonesia to the Government of The Gambia through the Ministry of Agriculture for onward transmission to the beneficiary farmers.
The MoU was signed by the permanent secretary, Ebrima Jawara, on behalf of the Government of The Gambia and Dr Mat Syukur, deputy Minister of Indonesia, signed on behalf of the government of Indonesia, at a ceremony held at the Ministry of Agriculture conference room.
Agriculture Minister Solomon Owen said the signing of the agreement was another historic day in the sense that the relationship between the Government of The Gambia and that of Indonesia goes a long way back.
He recalled that when the United Nations declared 25 years ago the promotion of south-south cooperation mostly the relationship between the governments of The Gambia and the Indonesia were tied.
He cited Jenoi Agricultural Training Centre as an example of the support the Indonesia government had been rendering to the Government of The Gambia.
The presentation of five hand tractors to the Ministry of Agriculture of The Gambia would go a long way in assisting the Government of The Gambia in their new drive towards food sufficiency in rice.
He went further to say that 2016 has been declared target for the elimination of rice importation into the country, adding that the importance attached to this signing ceremony could not be overemphasised, as it would continue to render technical support between the Government of The Gambia and Indonesia as these types of inputs are key.
Minister Owen also cited some of the assistance Indonesia has been helping The Gambia government with, especially in terms of scholarship.
On behalf of the Government of The Gambia and the President of The Gambia, he thanked the government of Indonesia for the gesture, saying the partnership and cooperation between the two countries would continue.
The permanent secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Ebrima Jawara, said this was another moment of great pride for another intervention under President Jammeh to further develop the country in line with Vision 2020 and the Gambia National Agricultural Investment plan.
He thanked the people and government of the Republic of Indonesia for the gift of 5 hand tractors that would surely help increase agricultural productivity, as the country strives to significantly reduce rice importation.
According to the permanent secretary, this was not the first memorandum of agreement entered into between the two governments and it would certainly not be the last.
He said the Indonesia government had been actively involved in providing technical and material assistance to the agricultural sector, and the most notable one being at Jenoi Agricultural Training Centre.
He further noted that the agricultural sector would learn best practices from Indonesia, as Indonesia was virtually self-sufficient in rice, a challenge the Gambian President had decreed to be achieved by 2016.
He revealed to the Indonesia officials that in The Gambia they are having average rice yields of 1.7 tons per hectare on irrigated land and 1.2 tones on swamp land.
Mr Jawara further noted that Indonesia farmers, on the other land, average 5 tons per hectare with a few size of less than one hectare, with similar growing conditions.
“We assure you that steps are being taken to achieve this goal, starting with the development and consolidation of a national rice strategy, introduction of high yielding varieties, advanced farming techniques and efficient coordination of projects and programs, to minimize duplication and maximize resources allocation,” he said.
“We will work with our sister countries like Indonesia in mutually beneficial South-South cooperation, migrating best practices,” he added.
The Indonesia deputy minister for Innovation and Technology, Dr Mat Syukur, acknowledged with great thanks to the Government of The Gambia, as well as Indonesia Embassy, for arranging the ceremony of handing over five units of hands tractors donated by the Government of the republic of Indonesia to the Government of The Gambia.
He further stated that this event would enhance their cooperation and would contribute positively to agricultural development in their countries.
Dr Mat Syukur said the beauty of The Gambia would capture their friendship and lead them to show their best in creating their historical agricultural cooperation.
He further noted that Indonesia was eager to participate and contribute more actively to global agriculture cooperation and other issues related to economic, social, cultural, and environmental matters, as well as world peace.
He said the government of Indonesia would like to reiterate their commitment to support global development of agricultural sector in The Gambia.