By Olimatou Coker
The Agribusiness Services and Producers Association (ASPA) in partnership with the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) over the weekend completed their annual three-day buyer-seller workshop for stakeholders in groundnut, cashew and cereal value chains.
The event ended in Jenoi, LRR. It seeks to sensitise and build capacity of stakeholders in the handling and marketing of groundnut, cashew and cereal products. The event gave special attention to creating market opportunities by bringing producers and buyers together to discuss challenges and opportunities.
The representative of YEP, Kebba Seck, said their work is to help engage young people into something meaningful, thereby discouraging ‘back way’.
“The reason for us sponsoring this program is because we know majority depend on farming and they contribute to the improvement of our economy,” he stated.
Because 70 percent of Gambians are farmers, Seck reiterated the importance of bringing together stakeholders to discuss issues affecting the farming sector and to look at means of improvingit.
“We realised that farmers do harvest and directly sell their crops. That’s why we brought someone who will discuss about processing, so that you will be able to sell your crops with good prices,” he told them.
Ousman Sanyang, a rep of the agriculture ministry, hopes that the event will help stakeholders and government identify the unreported challenges of farmers so that they can separate the wheat from the chaff.
“Now we know that there are a lot of groundnuts and not so many buyers. Now, we know that what we have to do is to discuss a way forward in solving it,” he said.
He called the government “wise” for engaging farmers to cultivate more rice compared to before when the country used to import rice in large number.
“We know if we want to help the farmers, we must hear their voices and engage them in dialogue for better farming system,” Mr Sanyang added.
Chief of Jarra West, Alhagie Yaya Jarjusey, said the event was important because it involved stakeholders who play crucial roles in the productive sectors of our economy.
Pa Gumbo Saine, a representative of the education minister, expressed similar remarks.
The overall objective of the meeting was to support the groundnut, cashew and cereal sectors, and to support government’s efforts to increase production and marketing of these crops.