Apr 4, 2011, 1:17 PM
Over thirty vegetable growers were over the weekend sensitised on locust control, its effects and other protective measures, at a training workshop held at Wellingara Agriculture Centre.
The forum, which attracted over thirty participants from various areas within the Greater Banjul, KMC, Western Region, was organised by the African Emergency Locust Project, and co-ordinated by their Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Yassin Khan.
Speaking to our reporters during the training session, the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Mrs. Yassin Khan gave an overview of the project and said this project was formulated after the 2004 locust invasion. She added that it was signed in 2005 and it is a regional project found in seven African countries:
According to Yassin Khan, the project has two objectives. She said the first objective of the project is to capacitise The Gambia on locust control, while the other is to mitigate the impact of desert locust invasion socially, economically and to ensure that there is adequate food for everyone.
She noted that the project has four main components, which include Emergency Locust Control, Emergency and Management, Agricultural Investment, Early Warning and Pest Management.
She noted that so far, the achievement that they realised over the past 4 or 5 years was that the project was able to reduce The Gambia's respond time to desert locust invasion from 30 days to 24 hours. She said this was done due to the availability of two agricultural aircrafts that were provided by President Jammeh and the acquisition of adequate vehicle and sprayers.
Noting that they have decentralised locust system across the country, she said every region has a very strong regional team. She added that over the past six or seven months, they have built pesticide stores in each region, as well as national pesticide stores and pest monitoring office in the country.
Mrs. Khan further stated that the forum for the vegetable growers came within the framework of extending the number of farmers across the country.
She said though there are farmers who are well-informed on locust identification, reporting of locust outbreak and how to control desert locust invasion, yet there is a need to train more farmers.
"We targeted these women in the sense that when locust came they come at a time when vegetables are at their peak period," she concluded.