Oct 27, 2015, 10:47 AM
Sixty members of the multi-disciplinary facilitation teams in the country have begun a four-day training on entrepreneurship development powered by the Agricultural Land and Water Management Development (Nema) with funding from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) on Monday at the Jenoi Agricultural Farmers’ Training Centre in the Lower River Region.
The training was designed, in partnership with Concern Universal, the contracted trainer, in response to the Nema project documentation, which stated that poor Gambians lack the necessary skills for starting and running a successful business despite their enthusiasm and desire for it.
“They are unable to assess, identify and select the most appropriate business opportunities. They are not aware of how to prepare business plans or manage the business entity concept, or how to implement business record keeping and financial management skill which are inevitably critical to business success,” the Nema Training manual states.
In his statement at the opening of the training, Banky Njie, Business Development Officer for the Nema project, said the training is expected to provide the pre-requisite business knowledge and skills for quality extension services to the farmers involved in rice and vegetable value chain.
According to him, the participants are gathered to reflect upon the important role that business development can play in enhancing smallholder farmers’/producers’ entrepreneurship skills to enable them integrate themselves into the value chain.
“It will also provide an opportunity to share experiences on successful enterprises that have transformed smallholder agriculture into profitable business that can contribute to generating employment and the creation of wealth, thereby reducing poverty,” he said.
Commenting on some of the challenges confronting subsistence farmers, Mr Njie noted that the livelihood of smallholder farmers are often constrained by poor access to markets and limited entrepreneurial skills for adding value to their produce.
“Research and development organisations have now recognised that improving market access and enhancing the ability of the resource-poor farmers to diversify their links with markets that are among the pressing challenges in smallholder agriculture.”
However, he added, rapid urbanisation is opening up domestic and regional markets and offering new market opportunities for them to supply higher value produce.
The governor of the Lower River Region, Salieu Puye, who gave the opening remarks, reminded the participants that the area on which they are getting trained forms the main force of the economic weight of the country.
With the rich human resource available in The Gambia, he said, citizens of the country are capable to actualise the dream of transforming subsistence farming to commercial agriculture.
In that approach, he urged them to develop patriotic feeling and ego in national development, especially through agriculture.
Governor Puye commended the Nema project for targeting the multi-disciplinary facilitation teams of extension service with a view to enhancing productivity of the farming population using entrepreneurial skills.
At the end of the training, he said it is expected that all the brains in the field of agriculture will be suitably used to uplift the status of farming and production.