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Thursday, October 21, 2021

6 rural youths get hand tractors under Tekki-Fii

By Tabora Bojang

Tekki-Fii project partners IMVF and Agency for the Development of Women and Children (ADWAC) on Wednesday presented power tillers to youths from six communities in the North Bank Region to support farming, horticulture as well as promote income opportunities for women and youths.

The multi purpose hand tractors were presented to six young youths from Salikenni, Illiassa, Kerewan, Buniadu, Lamin and Sitanunku in a ceremony graced by the NBR deputy governor, Chairman of the Kerewan Area Council and Director of Agriculture among other officials. The IMVF is partly implementing the 3 years EU funded programme (Tekki-Fii- Building a Future; Make it in The Gambia) targeting youths and Women in North, Central, Lower and Upper River Regions of the Gambia.

The programme aims to create awareness, economic development and brighter future prospects for young Gambians.

Pedro Santos, IMVF agribusiness manager, explained that donation of the power tillers comes following pleas by women groups during their engagements with them as part of a value chain approach. 

 “We saw in their need [women] an opportunity for youths to be engaged in the value chain. These power tillers will not only support women in their rice fields and vegetable gardens but also create business and employment opportunities for youths,” he added.

Mr. Santos disclosed that nearly one hundred youths took part in the application but following a rigorous vetting and interview procedures the six were selected for fulfilling all the criteria, “We will soon be distributing tricycles to several other youths as part of the project component.”

ADWAC Executive Director Mam Samba Joof said the project has brought an unprecedented support to women and youths since its commencement with a series of capacity building programs, provision of grants, agri-tools, facilitation of market linkages among others all geared to engage young people and women in meaningful activities.

“This is a pilot and for now we are only giving out six but we hope we will be able to provide more in the future. The beneficiaries are expected to efficiently manage the equipment, utilise it around the year but more importantly we expect them to achieve two main things; to achieve income and support women in ploughing their rice fields and gardens,”

Dr. Saihou Sanyang, the director of Agriculture thanked IMVF and ADWAC for the intervention as he expressed optimism that it would go a long way to motivate youths to embrace agriculture and boost production.

“As far as agriculture is concerned, we have our priorities and one of them is to strengthen the youths in terms of capacity and access to funds, and these projects are out to address that,” Dr. Sanyang said.

He described agriculture as the only way out for the country to achieve food self-sufficiency, eradicate poverty and spur socio-economic development.

The NBR deputy governor Musa Kanteh, Kerewan Area Council chairman Ma-Lamin Bojang and Youth representative Muhammed Sumareh all praised the gesture and called on the beneficiaries to ensure proper care and sustainability of the power tillers.

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