Jan 20, 2009, 5:13 AM
Corps The Gambia recently conducted a daylong field visit, dubbed Farmer Field
Day, to Saikou Nyassi’s Farm in Genya, Foni Kansala in West Coast Region.
The visit was part of Peace Corps (PC) Environment and Agriculture Programme which aims to support Peace Corps Volunteers and their counterparts based in villages to improve food security by working on production, processing and consumption of agricultural products.
As part of this process, PC plans to work with motivated Gambians to setup sites (Master Farms), to demonstrate technologies for increasing and diversifying production and holding trainings and conducting adaptive research.
The goal of the Master Farmer is to demonstrate how farmers can use appropriate, improved agricultural and agro-forestry technologies to better support their families through increased access to grains and vegetables, increased income through sales of cultivated produce.
It is in this vein that PC is supporting Saikou Nyassi, a master farmer, in designing and setting up his site, implementing technologies and providing training.
PC officials said Saikou’s farm would ultimately be a local source of seeds and materials for agricultural, agro-forestry production and adaptive research.
Speaking on the field visit, programme manager for Environment and Agriculture at Peace Corps, Saikou B.M Njai, said the Master Farms project started in 2013 and it is currently being implemented in four regions: West Coast Region, North Bank Region, Central River Region and Lower Region.
It is a US$17,000 project aimed at building the capacity of Gambian farmers to attain food security through choosing youth who are very active and dedicated to share knowledge with others.
The project is being funded by the West African Food Security Programme (WAFSP) and it is designed to increase food security through improved agricultural practices, food processing nutrition, and education and innovation approaches to food production.
Country Director of Peace Corps Gambia Jennifer Goette said the Master Farmer project is a joint effort between Peace Corps and the US Agency for International Development to improve local communities’ food security.
The Master Farmer programme began in The Gambia in 2013 to support the government’s initiative to improve food security by targeting a variety of farmers of different backgrounds and skills.
Through the project, Peace Corps Volunteers would work hand in hand with motivated Gambians to undertake gardening projects, improving field crops and rice varieties, and engaging in agro-forestry work with a special emphasis on gardening and tree nurseries.
Also speaking at the field day, chairman of Brikama Area Council, Bakary Saikou Sanneh, commended the Peace Corps for complementing the efforts of The Gambia government through training farmers to enhance their production and productivity.
The regional agriculture director for West Coast, Kaddy Bojang-Saidy, also commended the Peace Corps for their initiative.