Jul 23, 2008, 6:29 AM
Tabling the motion before deputies, Abdou Kolley, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, said the loan agreement signed between the Gambia government and ADF component of the ADB, is meant for the part financing of the Gambia Agriculture Value Chains Development Project.
The loan agreement was signed on 23 May 2016 to the tune of UA6,000,000 equivalent to US$8,422,800 or D334,020,000.
The project beneficiaries are also expected to make some contribution towards the financing of the project, in the amounts of UA356,300 and UA313,550 respectively.
Minister Kolley added that agriculture continues to be of top priority in the government’s quest for food security and food self-sufficiency, as well as for improving the livelihood of the Gambian populace.
While “significant progress is being realised” over the years, much more needs to be done to raise agricultural production and productivity, and commercialise the sector to generate viable employment and reduce poverty in a sustainably way.
Minister Kolley further told deputies that the project’s objective would increase on a sustainable basis the income for rural producers and entrepreneurs engaged in the production, processing, storage and marketing of rice and livestock products.
The project, he said, is expected to contribute to food and nutrition security and create shared wealth and employment.
Seconding the motion was the National Assembly Member for Foni Brefet, Hon. Bintanding Jarju, who said they have a dynamic government in place, which is out to improve the welfare and livelihood of its people such that it would go all out to look for resources to do that.
“We have been ratifying agreements here, and it’s the same trend today, which is important, and we were discussing on how to improve our agricultural productivity and among the key issues that were discussed was agro-processing - adding value to our products and empowering our entrepreneurs.
“That is exactly what this loan agreement has come to do, and the select committee on agriculture is more than happy to receive this loan,” she continued, adding that they would give support throughout the project because they believe their plans had been captured in the loan agreement.
Hon. Jarju further said there are lots of responsibilities in the loan agreement; hence the borrower had nothing to lose and the funds had taken into account unforeseen circumstances in the event the borrower is unable to meet targets.
“We have seen that during Tobaski the majority of Gambians cannot afford ram because it is too expensive for others; so we will be very happy if these project takes off so that we can rear our own rams that we can sell to each other as Gambians at reasonable prices.
“We are tired of getting chickens that are frozen for months before we get to eat them; so if this project is coming to rescue us from eating frozen meats, I think we will hasten to ratify this loan so that the project will help Gambians to rear animals and eat our fresh chickens,” she added.