Jun 20, 2017, 11:38 AM
Gambia Emergency Agricultural Production Project (GEAPP) has been applauded by regional agriculture directors for its successes.
GEAPP, a European Commission Funded Project through the World Bank to the Gambia Government, has the objective of enhancing agricultural production in 475 most vulnerable villages due to the soaring food prices by providing access to inputs and machinery, rehabilitation of 35 village seed stores and 23 seed multiplication centres.
The cardinal achievement of the project is that it has procured and distributed 3000tons of fertilizers to 600 villages in ten districts,300 power tillers, 367 seeders, 367 sinehoes and 367 threshers, 525tons of certified seeds, just to name a few.
However, based on this achievement, the project is being rounded up to phase out at the end of the year, about which regional directors of agriculture commented on its impact across the country.
Speaking to our reporter in an interview, Falalo Touray, the Regional Agricultural director for Lower River Region (LRR) said the GEAPP is an eighteen-month-old project, and its intervention in various villages across the country yielded substantial dividends and increased farmers’ crop production particularly in lower river region.
He noted that technically the project has come almost to an end on paper, but it would certainly continue in LRR in the sense that the GEAPP has already provided some farming implements, machinery, shinehoes, seeders, power tillers, threshing machines, and fertilizers to farmers in ensuring sustainability of the project after its lifespan.
Mr. Touray added that the GEAPP started its intervention in LRR in 2010, and the number of hectares in Jarra Karantaba has doubled significantly.
Mr. Touray used the occasion to reveal that the GEAPP has registered tremendous achievements in LRR in the sense that some village beneficiaries of the farming machinery given to them have utilised it accordingly as some were able to save over one hundred and thirty thousand dalasi.
He said therefore, given farmers farming inputs has greatly changed their livelihood.
He said he personally went to most of the village beneficiaries to assess their products.
He further to commented on the importance attached to the project, saying that due to viability of the project, the GEAPP was limited only in Jarra West in LRR, but the project has gone beyond that are not in Jarra West. All this shows the importance of this project in our community in terms of enhancing production, assisting farmers with seeds and fertilizers, and the project assists in the primary cultivation efficiency in the provision of power tillers and also the money achieved from the power tillers is also retained by the farmers.
Mr. Touray also said there is some socio-economic progress registered due to the GEAPP intervention in the region.
He said the GEAPP is the only project that one will see the project coordinator with the farmers at all the time at the field level.
This is a sign of encouragement for the farmers in the sense that farmers will have the opportunity to express their concerns, constraints and challenges.
He also thanked the EU, the World Bank and the Gambia Government for empowering Gambian farmers.
Meanwhile, also speaking to this reporter was farmers from Ballangar Kerr Ndery called Saloum Cham.
He expressed appreciation over the intervention of the GEAPP in their villages.
The project has provided the community with seed stores, fertilizers, seeders and shine hoes, he added.
The intervention, which is a development move for farmers, is the only way to enhance farmers’ agricultural productivity.
Mr. Cham added that the importance attached to the seed stores cannot be overemphasised as these stores will greatly help them in keeping their seed products.
He therefore appealed to the donors for the continuity of the project in the sense that the project has registered tremendous achievements countrywide.
In the same vein, Mr. Cham commended the management of the GEAPP for their loyalty and honesty to the project.
Abba Yabo, who works at the Department of Agriculture under the Ministry of Agriculture attached to GEAPP Project as support staff, said: “This project was initiated to the farmers in food security.”
He added that the GEAPP is a project that, whatever is written upon agreement on document will be initiated at farmer level.
Mr. Yabo asserted that with the level of crop produces in LRR, as a result of the GEAPP intervention, the farmers appealed to the donor agency to extend this project.
Ousman Jammeh, the regional director of Agriculture at Central River Region South, also hailed the GEAPP for its achievements.
He expressed optimism that the GEAPP has met its target, in the sense that farmers have recommended the Project as one of the best projects that are visible and has greatly helped farmers in getting farming inputs on time, such as fertilizers and others that are useful for agriculture.
Mr. Jammeh added that in past years, farmers used to experience a lot of difficulties during and after the rain season, in getting proper farming inputs but thanks to the intervention of the GEAPP farmers’ production levels are now increasing yearly.
He also asserted that farmers at the Central River Regions are optimistic that with this project their livelihood has been enhanced.