Jan 27, 2014, 10:39 AM
The National Women Farmers' Association (NAWFA) on Wednesday held a daylong sensitization campaign for farmers on Sesseme farming at its head office on Kairaba Avenue.
Speaking at the meeting, Njaga Jawo, Country Director for NAWFA, said the meeting was held to put their partners (farmers) in the picture of what they are doing. The aim of NAWFA is to support women, especially those in agriculture, he added.
The sensitisation was also held to promote the cultivation of Sesseme in the country, Mr Jawo said, adding that the farmers do encounter some difficulties in the tinning and harvesting process. This, he explained, was what necessitated the idea of equipping farmers with the knowledge of Sesseme farming.
The NAWFA country director also said that Sesseme is milled to produce oil, as well as to make soap and many other items. "It does not only serve as a form of income generation," he added.
Mr Jawo said that in the past they used to encounter problems with the marketing of the produce but "that is now the thing of the past because there are companies in the country now that are engaged in the buying and selling process."
NAWFA farmers "are even receiving requests from countries all over the world on how to buy the Sesseme" from them, he disclosed, adding that the Gambia government is now involved in the production of Sesseme.
Sesseme is considered a major crop as it continues to attract better price in the market, he said.
"The farmers should benefit from what they cultivate, if not there is no use for them farming," he added, calling for the setting of a fixed price for Sesseme in the country "because it has no fixed price".
"We want to set this price so that nobody will buy the Sesseme below that price. The reason for this is we want farmers to get something out of what they cultivate," he said.
He however urged exporters to be exporting the right Sesseme to the world market, saying that if infected products are sent to the world market it will tarnish the name of the country at the world market.
Yahya Samateh, senior economist at the Ministry of Trade, said the price of the product is important but also stressed the need for good quality as the ministry “is much more concerned about the quality of the product.
Mr Samateh also raised the idea of helping farmers with training as well as monitoring them on how to cultivate and use the product. "We need to protect our domestic workers to have good quality, value and good market price no matter how small or big the quantity of the product," he says.
Ramatoulie Hydara from the Department of Agriculture raised the idea of having an MOU between NAWFA and the Department of Agriculture.
At the end of the meeting, a committee called Alliance for Sesseme Promotion and Marketing was set up to enhance and promote the marketing of Sesseme in the country.
The institutions identified to spearhead the affairs of the committee were NAWFA, AFET, NACOFAG, NAYAF, COMAFRIC, the Ministry of Trade, the Media, the Department of Agriculture, the Farmers’ Platform and the Royal Enterprise.
NAWFA was identified as the secretariat and Kutubo Sanyang from NARI as the chair of the committee.