By Isatou Jawara
The Minister for Agriculture Omar Jallow said low eraninigs after production by rural farmers continues to have direct negative consequences on poverty eradication in the country.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the national conference on the development and challenges of aflatoxin, minister Jallow said The Gambian economy entirely depends on agriculture, with a significant number of workforce whose livelihoods depend on the earnings from their produce.
“The National Development plan put emphasis on increasing production and improving productivity of crops and livestock. To achieve these objectives, resources have been invested in addressing constraints that affect the effiency of the sector and advocating quality control along different stages of production “he said.
He agrees that aflatoxin contamination is not a newly discovered problem in the country, adding that its impact has always been the cause of the poor quality of crops as it prevents its acceptance to premium markets which contributes to liver cancer.
“This is supported by the country situational analysis and action plan that was commissioned by the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA) in 2015.”
Trade minister Dr Isatou Touray, also speaking, said The Gambia is historically a trading hub and and therefore, goods especially agricultural products are very important as it engages a significant number of the workforce along the value chain by providing income for farmers, the ‘poorest members’ of the society.
“At the level of my ministry, serving as one of the three critical partner institutions under the PACA program, numerous efforts have been undertaken in contributing to the control of aflatoxin contamination in crops destined for export.
“The most recent major intervention being under the Enhanced Integrated Framework project where a lot of work was done with groundnut, cashew and sesame farmers and the development of Farmer Field School (FFS) manuals.”