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WAAPP, NARI holds innovation platform farmers meeting in CRR

Oct 31, 2013, 10:20 AM

The west African Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP), and its implementing partners the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture last Saturday conveyed a day-long field convergence at Boiram village in the Central River Region South.

The meeting was meant for farmers to come together, learn and share experience and adopt best practices as well as awareness creation of rice innovation platform technology output for farmers across the country.

The forum that was attended by various innovation platform farmers across the country, was spearheaded by NARI and funded by WAAPP with a view to exchanging ideas and experiences gained at the Boiram rice field innovation platforms.

Speaking at the official opening of the meeting, Governor of the Central River Region, Alhagie Ganyi Touray hailed NARI for spearheading such types of activities, noting that bringing farmers together to learn from their experiences in a bid to improve their agricultural production and productivity is a step in the direction and in line with the government’s aspiration.

He also commended WAAPP for supporting the farmers with seeds, fertilizers, and agricultural inputs to improve their crop yield.

Governor Touray stated that the establishment of innovation platforms in the country has yielded dividend in the sense that looking at the rice field at Boiram, it shows a clear manifestation that the community of Boiram has adopted the best practices provided to them by NARI.

He urged farmers who are actively engaged in the innovation platforms to continue with their commitment in rice production, which he said, is one of the most important food crops in the world and a large proportion of the global population depend on it for survival.

He commended NARI as the implementing agency and WAAPP for taking up such an initiative, which he said, is geared towards improving production and productivity.

Governor Touray also used the occasion to commend President Yahya Jammeh for the concern he have for Gambian farmers.

He noted that with the support of WAAPP, there is no doubt that the innovation platform farmers in Boiram will attain a bumper harvest of rice this year. He then encouraged farmers to take the innovation platform seriously and apply the best practices that will help them to improve their crop yield.

For her part, Yassin Khan, acting project coordinator of WAAPP, expressed satisfaction about the level of commitment of the farmers in Boiram, saying that by looking at their rice field, it clearly shows that farmers have applied the best practices in their farms.

According to her, the meeting on innovation platform was a symbolic one as farmers will learn and share experiences among themselves and see possible ways of improving their crop yields.

Khan further stated that the convergence will serve as an opportunity for farmers to voice out their concerns relating to agriculture especially those affecting their production and productivity and map out the way forward through learning and sharing of ideas.

She also expressed the need for the best practices to be disseminated to other farmers so that they can learn more about timely land preparation, application of fertilizer, site selection, timely weeding among others.

The acting WAAPP project coordinator also disclosed that the project have plans to respond to the development needs of farmers in Boiram in order to they can be more involved in rice production.

She noted that the project is working hand in hand with the Department of Agriculture and NARI to overcome some of the challenges facing farmers.

Khan also commended the Gambia Government under the leadership of President Yahya Jammeh for the continued support to farmers.

She also thanked NARI and the Department of Agriculture for spearheading the activity in helping farmers improve their productivity.

Also speaking at the meeting, Ansumana Jarjue, national focal person for the innovation platforms in the country Ansumana Jarjue, explained that bin every region of the country, they have three commodity platforms which includes rice, maize and groundnut.

For his part, Hawa Jagne, one of the female innovation platform members underscored the importance of the meeting, noting that although it is not easy, rice production is all about commitment and adhering to the good advice of extension and researchers.

Basiru Bouy, a master farmer expressed similar sentiments and called on other farmers to adopt best practices, which he said, is the only solution.

Lamin Jobe, Director of Research at NARI commended the innovation platform farmers of Boiram for boosting agricultural production and productivity in term of rice production.

Jobe challenged other farmers to learn from farmers in Boiram and adopt the same approach and strategy.

Other speakers include the deputy director general department of agriculture Falalo Touray, among other farmers who lamented the need to assist the farmers with farming implementing to boost agricultural productivity in this country.