May 13, 2011, 2:31 PM
The West African Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP) under the Ministry of Agriculture, in collaboration with the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), on Monday began a two-day farmers’ dialogue in the country.
Over one hundred participants are taking part in the two-day meeting being held at the Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi.
According to organizers, the purpose of the meeting was for producers to come under a single platform to discuss issues of great concerns to them and to chart on the way forward in attaining quality seeds ahead of the coming cropping season.
In his official opening statement at the meeting, the deputy permanent secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Asheme Cole, described the farmers’ dialogue as long over due.
He said quality seed is very important and key in the development of agriculture.
According to him, the forum is an opportunity for the farmers to elaborate on issues affecting them in their agricultural productivity and map a way to improve the system.
He went on to say that the president of The Gambia has given priority to farmers in his development agenda, adding that it is now left with farmers to ensure that they adopt best practices to improve production and productivity.
There cannot be any viable agriculture without good seeds, he also told farmers, whilst hailing WAAPP and NARI for the forum.
He went further to advise farmers to heed to the researchers’ advice, which will greatly help.
He also thanked the WAAPP official for trying to equip farmers with the necessary knowledge to improve on their agricultural productivity.
Mr Cole further advised the farmers to make proper recommendation and come up with good strategies that will greatly enhance production.
For his part, the project coordinator of WAAPP, Sheikh Tijan Sosseh, explained that the meeting is part of the component three of the WAAPP implementation.
The component, he said, is demand driven, technology generation and dissemination, which also has to do with seed production.
He said the Government of The Gambia prepared a National Seed Policy and WAAPP is supporting the implementation of the Policy and the National Seed Act.
He said lack of quality seeds would lead to low productivity, and without quality seed there is no way farmers can attain potential yield.
According to him, farming should be a business for improving livelihood, which was why NACOFAG is collaborating with other farmers’ organizations for a better supporting of farmers.