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TTM hands over major rice project and opens Agricultural Service Centre

Jul 1, 2013, 10:43 AM

Taiwanese ambassador to The Gambia Samuel Chen and Agriculture Minister Solomon Owens recently presided over the opening ceremony of Agriculture Service Centre in CRR and the handing over of Agriculture-related project equipment and machinery by Taiwan Technical Mission (TTM) to the Ministry of Agriculture.

The handing-over ceremony, held in Madina on 27 June 2013, was also witnessed by Alhagi Ganyi Touray, Governor of CRR.

Ambassador Samuel Chen handed over the Rice Sustainable Project from the TTM to the Agriculture Departments of CRR south and CRR north for the purpose of providing high-quality, ex-gratia and swift services to farmers.

The handing-over also consisted of an Agriculture Revolving Fund of D4,787,409.58 and the transferring of fertilizer (including the Compound NPK 15-15-15:297 bags and Urea 46%: 1111bags).

It also included the transferring of such equipment as manufactory plants, warehouses, mixers, excavators, tractors, power tillers, threshers, winnowers, and transporting vehicles such as pick-up, truck, and motorcycle amounting to 272 items in total.

Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador Samuel Chen said CRR has a lot of agriculture potentials and could serve as the biggest food barn in The Gambia.

“Its agricultural products are very crucial to the national economy,” he said.

The establishment of the Agricultural Service Centre is able to help local farmers’ cultivation by providing the fertilizers and the service of using threshers, winnowers and milling machines, he said.

According to him, the centre can help to upgrade the value of agricultural products.

Ambassador Samuel Chen said that based on the “Ownership principle” Taiwan has not only transferred the real capitals and projects’ properties, but will continue to provide technical and training assistant to help The Gambia seek the object of “food self-sufficiency”.

TTM’s Rice Sustainable Project has been completed, but since this year the new project - “Upland Rice Consolidation Project” - is being implemented.

He disclosed that this year, the total funding from ROC for the agriculture projects of the TTM is US$3 million.

“The total amount for the 5-year project is US$15 million and we hope that through the agriculture cooperation and many years training, the handing over of the project properties can conduct a more positive development in agriculture.”

In his remarks, Hon. Solomon Owens, Minister of Agriculture, expressed his appreciation to the Republic of China (Taiwan).

He also thanked the Taiwan Embassy and the TTM for their timely response.

He emphasised the importance of agriculture that it is the backbone of the Gambian economy.

According to him, now is the time for young Gambians to respond to President Jammeh’s “Back to the land call” and take advantage of the rainy season.

He urged the farmers to make good use of the service centre and items provided by Taiwan.

He assured the Republic of China (Taiwan) that the project would contribute immensely to The Gambia’s quest for food self-sufficiency, and expressed hope for the bilateral relations between The Gambia and Taiwan, saying it will go from strength to strength.