The National Agricultural Land and Water Management Development Project, Nema an IFAD funded project recently ended two days training of trainers, ToT, on entrepreneurship and business development for 60 participants at the Jenoi Agricultural Training Centre in LRR.
The participants were drawn from multi-disciplinary facilitation teams, MDFT’s, from the department of Agriculture, Nema’s Conservation Field Assistants, CFA’s, Nema’s Songhai Graduates, Business Development Service Adviser’s from United Purpose amongst others.
The 30 participants were trained on understanding entrepreneurship, financial and operational management, value chain approach, farm and agribusiness systems, financing and expanding business, business advisory, counseling, mentoring and coaching.
According to IFAD, the main objective of financing the Nema project is to assist poor rural women and youth to develop their skills and organizations to take advantage of improved agricultural technologies and effective production services as well as support them with opportunities to improve their income.
Speaking to journalists at the training the Nema business development officer and component head of this activity, Banky Njie said the training is designed to equip participants an in-depth knowledge on entrepreneurship.
“The main thrust of this Training of Trainers is to strengthen the participants’ skills and give them the entrepreneurial tool to be able to work directly with farmers in assisting and developing their farms into viable and sustainable businesses,” he said.
Adding: “The Nema project designed the training to help participants to develop a simple business plan for farmers that they are working with directly. It is only when you understand the concept of entrepreneurship that you can do the step-down to others.”
He added that the project actively seeks efforts to help subsistence producers transform into market-oriented producers and link them to local, regional and even international markets as a means to improve their incomes in a sustainable way.
Mr Njie said to follow-up and ascertain the impact at farmer level, Nema will continue to monitor the progress at field level through its field coordinators to gauge the effect of the step-down training and how it it’s helping farmers to transform and get them thinking and behaving like entrepreneurs.
Tamba Jammeh, a Songhai graduate expressed appreciation for being selected to attend the ToT, saying that the knowledge he gained from the training has equipped him to support farmers improve production in a sustainable way and see farming as a business.
“It was very impressive and I believe if such continues, we will be able to maintain a lot and extend the information to the people who need our services such as the farmers,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Babucarr Ceesay agricultural extension worker from West Coast Region youth farming center hailed the facilitators for their tireless efforts in supporting them during the training.
“It was intensive and hands-on, with professional guidance and practical examples of how to keep records etc. Since day one, our facilitators were able to give us their knowledge. The training was very short and if not we will do more than this. We are very thankful to Nema and the trainers for sharing their knowledge with us. We are very thankful to the team and the camp manger,” he added.
Lamin Marong, the regional agriculture director at LRR, challenged the participants to properly use their newly acquired entrepreneurial skills to assist farmers with their businesses to help them grow for the market, make more money, manage their money better, improve record keeping and this will eventually get them out of poverty.
At the end of both trainings, all participants received certificates.