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ROOTS project dishes D33M matching grant to 86 youths/groups

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By Olimatou Coker

The Resilience of Organization for Transformative Smallholder Agriculture (ROOTS) project on Wednesday presented D33 million to 86 youths as matching grant at a ceremony held at the SDKJC.

The 86 beneficiaries were selected by a national steering committee which concluded its work on the selection of successful applicants for this allotment.

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The Minister of Agriculture Livestock and Food Security, Demba Sabally, said the awardees are categorized as follows: 15 from mechanized agriculture services, 23 in agro-dealerships, 8 in food processing, 38 in agro-transport services, and 2 are workshops repairing agricultural equipment.

Explaining the scheme further, Minister Sabally said: “Under the leadership of my Ministry, and through the ROOTS Project, 86 successful applicants will today receive support up to the tune of $ 7,500 each which at the current exchange rate is D500,000. Out of this total, beneficiaries will be expected to pay 10%, or less, depending on the amount requested by the beneficiary. The beneficiary counterpart funding is of course designed to enhance ownership and promote sustainability.”

Minister Sabally added that the project is gender sensitive because 35 of the beneficiaries are female and 37 male, 14 youth groups (90% of which are female).

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“In terms of geographical distribution, 19 of the beneficiaries this year are from CRR North, 17 from North Bank, 16 from LRR, 12 from URR, 11 from West Coast Region, and 11 from CRR South”, he said.

He also called on his team to ensure that the original target of 240 beneficiaries be increased to 500, thus meaning that even more youths from across the country now stand to benefit from this successful initiative.

Mamour Alieu Jagne, Project Director of ROOTS, said it is important for “us to do our part to create employment and improve  the livelihood of the youths in this country through agriculture as an integral part of what the ROOTS project is mandated to do”.

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