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Roots signs up 3 contractors for 22 gardens

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By Olimatou Coker

The Resilience of Organizations  For Transformative Smallholder  Agriculture Project (ROOTs) on Wednesday signed work contract with 3 different  contractors for 22 gardens across the country held at the ROOTs office in Abuko.

The 3 different contractors are Heloica, Bouvis and FMK.

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The main goal of the ROOTs project is to improve food security, nutrition and resilience of smallholder farmers to climate change in The Cambia. Its development objective is to increase agricultural productivity and access to markets for enhanced food security and nutrition and the resilience of family firms and farmer organizations.

ROOTs works across the rice and vegetable value chain and is tasked to rehabilitate forty (40) gardens and construct thirty (30) new gardens across the six agricultural regions of The Gambia.

Speaking, Hon. Demba Sabally, the Minister of Agriculture, said: “Roots, as you all know, is a flagship of my ministry, as well as a key project for the attainment of the objectives of the National Development Plan, under the leadership of His Excellency President Adama Barrow.

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“ROOTs  is one of the projects under my Ministry that is designed to tackle these challenges, towards our quest for self-sufficiency in vegetable production and consumption. Improving vegetable production and productivity will positively impact rural and urban economies and incomes, save scarce foreign exchange, and promote healthier consumption patterns.”

He said the roots have been saddled with the responsibility of completing the 17 unfinished gardens left behind by the NEMA Project. “I  am happy to convey that 6 of these 17 NEMA gardens have already been completed by ROOTs  and are currently in their fourth production cycle. These 7 gardens are dotted nationwide from North Bank, CRR (North and South), and Upper River Regions.”

Hon. Sabally added that the  total cost for the completion of the eight NEMA gardens is 28,464,335 while  the total cost for the rehabilitation of the fourteen gardens are 24770,185. “These assignments have been divided into lots and awarded to three contractors following an open and competitive tender process, namely FMK Drilling, Heloica Energy, and Bouvis Construction. The time period for the contracts is b months, which means all 22 gardens should be completed by the commencement of the vegetable growing season in November this year.”

Mamour Alieu Jagne, Project Director of the ROOTs, said they have recorded a bumper harvest  in the rainy season.“Significantly of which is rice, our staple crop. That of course is a collective effort under your leadership and direction of our minister of agriculture. One of the things I always say is you have set a clear direction for the ministry and a clear goal which is the attainment of rice self-sufficiency by 2030. That is very clear. And for me that constitutes leadership. You set clear targets and all parties align behind the target objective. And then, with your support, your guidance, we work on tackling and overcoming the challenges together”.

According to PD Jagne, the ROOTs project has directly benefited from Minister Sabally’s leadership in this manner. They have worked with him to tackle the challenges that have been constraining the project.

“Unlikely through your efforts, one by one, we are overcoming these challenges, so the Roots project is grateful to you”.

He also assured the minister of agriculture that they will play their part as part of the ministry to achieve sub sector objectives.

Dodou Sissoho, Heloica Energy Director, Pa Bouvier, Bouvis General Manager and Lamin Kinteh, FMC Drilling Co.LTD Director of Operations and Technical Services, both thanked ROOTs project for the trust they have in them and for entrusting them with such a big contract.

Both contractors assured the roots project to do their best, to produce quality within time and budget for this assignment.

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