Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Standard, Alieu Jallow who is the business development and entrepreneurship affairs manager at the American Chamber of Commerce said: “This 25,000 dollars [D1,075,000] grant is geared towards supporting innovative entrepreneurs to compete by way of ideas and business plans. I was fortunate through an advert on Facebook by the US Embassy in Banjul which provided a link with all the details and I decided to give it a shot. Through my application, I was selected as a semi-finalist to compete for the finals which will take place in Morocco. Currently, 63 applicants are in the semi-finals out of which 30 will be selected to compete in the finals. My idea is called bio-char and the company name will be Charsolutions. We are going to do manufacturing using animal and plant bio waste products. We will manufacture this into locally-made fertiliser to be available for supply to help farmers and boost agricultural production. The products can also be used a source of energy for cooking purpose. These products can also help in holding soil nutrients and water filtration which are important to high yield production in agriculture. Bio-char products can also serve as animal feed especially chicken to help boost their health and growth. This is the idea that I will be presenting and competing for at the finals. I am very happy because I think Gambians have the talent to grab some of these opportunities that are out there. It is really important because it is going to change the lives of many Gambians especially the womenfolk who are engaged in vegetable gardening.
“If you take a look at the North Bank Region for instance, you will realise that desertification has ramped-up in this region and the soil cover has lost a lot of its nutrients. These bio-char products will greatly help restore soil fertility. Food self-sufficiency has been an important factor of our national effort towards achieving the MDGs. This also highlights in a most dramatic manner the importance of directing more investment in agriculture. By winning this grant, I will be able to do more research and engage with various institutions to create avenues for agricultural development in the country. We want to establish the first bio-char plant in The Gambia to assist farmers. The voting period is one month and all I need now is support from Gambians by way of voting for me to reach to the finals.”
You can vote for Alieu Jallow via: http://www.aaas.org/tech-i/vote#view/25830/2190544]]>