By Omar Bah Fasdef, in collaboration with the National Enterprise Development Initiative, recently distributed seven tractors and other machineries to different communities and individuals in the WCR, LRR, CRR North and South respectively. Banni Village Development Group, Baba Sillah Bakadaji, Niani Sukuta Fandema Uriwa Kafo, Sanila Kafo, and Kiang Kafo were some of the beneficiaries. Outspoken Imam Bakawsu Fofana and Alagie Basaikou Barrow of Jarra Barrow Kunda, were also handed a tractor each. At a ceremony organised at the Fasdef offices in Bakau, its project director Kebba Kujabi said the donation came from the $26.6 grant supported by the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program and the government of The Gambia. He said the purchasing of farming machineries was part of the matching activities of the project and investment mechanism of Fasdef. “The aim of the matching grant is to help both selected farmer-based organisations and individual enterprises to realise their productive capacity. The tractors, power tillers, tracers and milling machines are in two categories of beneficiaries with a total cost of $0.7 million,” he said. Mr Kujabi further highlighted that under the normal matching grants six out of the 64 that were approved applied for tractors in order to enhance their crop production and productivity. “Having recognised lack of reliably agricultural services as the biggest challenge to the development of agriculture in The Gambia, Fasdef take up the initiative of establishing agric service centres owned and managed by youth in the Fasdef intervention areas. This is in line with the second specific objective of the project which is to stimulate inclusive growth of the Gambian economy through employment opportunities for the young people,” he said. Explicating on the focus of the initiative, he said: “The prime objective of the project is to reduce rural household poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition through increased agricultural productivity and commercialization.” The Director General of the Department of Agriculture, Saikou Sonko, urged beneficiaries to make good use of the machineries and make it available to those who are not opportune to benefit. He also urged the beneficiaries to closely work with the agricultural extension workers in the regions to ensure the sustainability of the machineries. DG Sonko concluded by telling the farmers that any “act of complacency will continue to derail the progress” of agricultural development in the country. Foday Jammeh, deputy permanent secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, said the government under the leadership of President Adama Barrow is committed to modernising agriculture. “The beneficiaries of the machineries should not work in isolation if they want sustainability of the materials given to them. Do not subject your machines to corner-side mechanics. we have our agric extension workers everywhere,” he stated.]]>
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