Jun 9, 2009, 7:31 AM
A three-day training exercise on the installation, testing and use of power tillers opened yesterday at the National Agricultural Development Agency (NADA) Headquarters in Yundum.
Organised by the Agricultural Engineering Unit of the National Agricultural Development Agency, the three-day exercise aims to equip participants with knowledge and skills on the installation, testing and use of 12 new power tillers recently donated to The Gambia by the government of Indonesia.
The training is being conducted by an advance team of three technical experts from Indonesia in anticipation of the imminent visit of the Indonesian agriculture minister to The Gambia for the official handing over of the equipment.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Babou Jobe, Director General of the National Agriculture Research Institute, underscored the importance of agriculture as a food provider and source of income and employment for the greater majority of Gambians.
He opined that for agriculture to perform all these functions adequately, there is an urgent need to mechanise farming in order to not only boost production but to also reduce the drudgery involved in agriculture.
Mr. Landing Sonko, Director of Technical Services of NADA, described soil as key resource in any country's efforts in developing its agriculture. He therefore, underscored the importance of the maintenance of soil fertility and avoidance of degradation as much as possible, through the proper use of farm equipment.
Mr. Sonko, on behalf of Gambian farmers, commended the government of Indonesia for what he described as a timely gesture.
For his part, Raden Usman Effendi, Second Secretary from the Indonesian Embassy in Dakar, who headed the technical experts, expressed his delight and that of the Indonesian government and people to share their experiences with the people of The Gambia.
He described their mission to The Gambia as an important step in activating the already existing relationship and technical co-operation that happily exists between the two governments.
Mr. Effendi expressed hope that the donated power tillers will go a long way in helping Gambian farmers in their drive towards food self sufficiency.