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NARI officials meet farmers on Innovation Platform

Oct 1, 2013, 11:04 AM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

Officials of the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) at the weekend met with over thirty farmers drawn from the North Bank and Central River regions to discuss issues affecting their farming activities and to map the way forward to advance their livelihood using innovation platform approach.

The aim of the meeting was also to bring all the players, ranging from farmers to stakeholders, marketers security and local authorities, to meet and share their experiences in improving agricultural production and productivity through adopting the innovation platform approach along the value chain.

The forum, graced by the Governor of North Bank Region and other stakeholders, was held at the Farafenni Addy conference hall.

The daylong convergence was organised by officials of NARI through sustainable intensification integrated of livestock for small ruminant.

The innovation platform initiative, according to the director of NARI, Dr Lamin Jobe, is being piloted in four countries of The Gambia, Ghana, Benin and Mali and funded by Australian Aid through Commonwealth Institute for Agriculture Research meant to help improve agriculture.

The grant was mainly to look at ways to sustain and intensify livestock and crop production, he said.

According to him, the project, which has four major components, started operation from 2011 through 2013, whilst in The Gambia the project is piloted in the North Bank and Central River regions.

Dr Jobe stated that the project’s outcome or result was to come up with a model to use information to predict what will happen tomorrow to crop, dependent on climate or weather parameter, how it affects crop production and impacts on livestock.

Dr Jobe further stated that the thirty results range from seed production, to strengthening soil fertility, livestock maintenance, capacity building for farmers, reliable business information and access to market.

He noted that the problems surrounding farmers along the value chain has gone beyond individuals to involving all players such as transporters, marketers, vendors, processors, sellers, buyers, security and local authorities.

The forum created an opportunity for all parties to share their experience, roles and responsibilities in ensuring they achieve their mission.

He further stated that the introduction of the NERICA rice has increased rice production to eighty thousand hectares in Boiram village, for example, saying farmers are getting up to four tonnes per hectare.

At the moment they are the champion in rice production thanks to the introduction of innovation platform, he added.

For his part, the governor of North Bank Region, Lamin Queen Jammeh, thanked officials of NARI for bringing a lot of farmers together and share experience with them on their constraints and challenges, and charted out solutions to the problems.

He described the move as a step in the right direction and went further to explain the vision of the people of North Bank Region, in their active involvement in agricultural activities.

Mr Jammeh called on farmers to listen carefully to the technicians, who are the researchers and extension workers and should endeavour to adopt best practices for their best interest.

For her part, Amie Cham, a farmer, also thanked the project management for ensuring the project yielded dividend in their livelihood.

Speaking on behalf of the governor of Central River Region, Wassa Darboe joined other speakers to hail the NARI officials for organizing such an important forum with the farmers.