By Amadou Jadama
The Ministry of Agriculture has handed over more than 250 metric tons of maize and rice seeds of different varieties to the Department of Agriculture for onward distribution to farmers.
Speaking at the ceremony held at the Abuko livestock grounds, agriculture minister Demba Sabally said providing good quality seeds especially rice and maize to the country’s gallant men and women farmers is part of the transformation agenda of his ministry.
The support is part of a World Bank sponsored project titled Gambia Inclusive Resilient Agriculture Value Chain Development Project (GIRAV).
“The handing over of these certified rice and maize seeds today to our men and women farmers across the country fits quite well into our transformation agenda as well as modernization vision. As you are aware, The Gambia’s staple food is rice. It is consumed in all households and less than 40% of the quantity consumed is produced locally hence, Millions of USA Dollars is spent to import rice” the minister disclosed.
He averred that in order to change these ‘negative trend’ the ministry in collaboration with the World Bank and other partners has introduced climate risk and salt tolerant rice varieties that are flood resistant and water stress resistant for the season.
“The certified maize seeds that we are handing over today will be introduced in the 2022 cropping season package with the sole aim of meeting the gap that is currently facing our poultry feed industries and other players along the other segment of the poultry value chain,” Minister Sabally stated.
He revealed that his ministry is also working on procedures to digitally register farmers in different sectors to track the production and productivity of farmers as well as help curb duplication of resource allocation to farmers and synchronizing input distribution among existing projects in the ministry.
GIRAV project coordinator, Abdoulie M Touray said inclusive and sustained economic growth remains one of the principal objectives of the government.
He explained that the $40 million World Bank funded project is a five-year project which aims to support agricultural value chain development and in helping the country move from subsistence to a more productive, inclusive, resilient, sustainable and market-oriented agriculture.