Speaking to The Standard on the sidelines of a three-day meeting on integrated soil fertility management for food security, he explained: “It’s a training of a group of countries in West Africa that have seen food security as an important component of sovereignty and independence. And given the importance of integrating food security in development, it is difficult for one country to face it alone. In order for us to benefit from the new technology and supplement the scarcity of land and the erosion of the soil, I think it’s important for us to exchange ideas between our universities. The original idea is to come together and make sure we train people and capacitate them on food security. You cannot have complete security without food security. The University of The Gambia is hosting it this time and next time we will move to another place where technology and knowledge are exchanged by different countries in West Africa,” he said.
Dr Jah further stated that the project started two years ago and is being handled by the Department of Agriculture of the University of The Gambia. He said it is important universities integrate knowledge in agriculture by way of reaching out to farmers.
He added: “Universities are institutions of learning and so they are not static. They are flexible and respond to the needs of the society and the market. We know that here in The Gambia, the relationship between research works, the farm and the classroom are not very much integrated. If you don’t link research in agriculture to the people who practice farming, then most of what you’re dreaming cannot come true. We have a lot to gain from the farmers out there. They have certain knowledge that we don’t have. Sometimes we tend to undervalue this but when you go to them, you tend to realise they have a lot that they can give to the university and to researchers both as reference purpose and food production. In the same vein, the researcher also has a lot to give to the farmers and until we link the three arms together, to link research to agriculture and to the farmer, then it will be very difficult to meet food security. In this country, the president launched Vision 2016 for food security and until and unless the classroom is linked to the researcher, to the farmer, it will be very difficult to talk about food security.”
By Lamin Njie]]>