By Tabora Bojang
The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry GCCI in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Sector Development Project (FASDEP) recently observed the annual agri business day with a daylong seminar for small scale farmers, food processors and producers held at the Independence Stadium in Bakau.
The agri business day is an annual event that recognises and acknowledges the need for commercialised agriculture as the way forward in enhancing farming as well as improving the living and economic conditions of small scale farmers and processors.
This year’s event is organised under the theme; ‘marketing and market access’ funded by Fasdep and targets over 20 participants including small scale farmers, food processors, producers and youth entrepreneurs from all over the country that were sponsored by the Fasdep and Nema projects at this year’s trade fair.
Olimatou Sadia Sarr, senior business development officer at the GCCI said the day is principally meant to create the platform for small scale holders, producers and processors in the agric sector to share ideas and experiences that will support in boasting their access to right marketing information’s and understanding the business prop up institutions that are at their disposals.
She added that such will go a long way in enhancing the smooth and steady marketing of their products and improve the living conditions of small scale farmers.
Ali Jawo of Fasdep said the project is intended to transform agriculture by diminishing food insecurity, malnutrition and rural household poverty through increased agricultural productions and commercialisation.
He said the programme will support agri business development in the country and this is one activity it seeks to support geared towards promoting agricultural commercialisation, noting that the platforms will create a way of interaction and networking avenue between buyers and sellers.
”Fasdep is currently working on established market structures in the country and we intend to put up a vegetable and live storage facility at the women federation market in sukuta and we also seeking up doing another additional two storage facilities in the provinces” He said.
Communication manager for GIEPA and marketing lecturer at the University of The Gambia Siddibou Jammeh who is the resource person for the seminar called on farmers to observe the need for enhanced value addition and innovation in their products and productions. He said this will create for a wider market to accord them sturdy and continuous market access of their products and services at all times.
Agriculture is a major driver of growth in The Gambia employing over 60% of the country’s labor force however, agricultural output only meets 50 % of the country’s food needs.
The problems of storage facilities, marketing of products and packaging are some issues that were raised by the participants as they call for concerted efforts to address these issues.