By Ebrima Jallow
Vice Chancellor of the University of the Gambia, UTG, professor Muhammed Faqir Anjum has urged Gambian farmers to work to shift to modern agricultural practices.
Agriculture contributes about 25 percent to Gambia’s GDP in 2017, but most Gambian farmers remain impoverished.
“If we have a package of technology we can bring change for the economy of this country. The land is available but the farmers are lacking the implements on irrigation system.
Agriculture is the backbone of this country but unfortunately our production is still low.
“…In order to improve the productivity there is a need to revamp our agriculture sector as a whole.
And particularly, we have to strengthen our programmes in agriculture at the University of the Gambia.”
The VC was speaking at a training on modern agricultural technologies for China and African countries organised under the Belt and Road Initiative. It was held at the UTG campus in Faraba.
Kaddijatou Lamin Njie, head of programmes, FAO Gambia, said FAO considers its partnership with the UTG as an important aspect of the development of the whole agro industry of The Gambia.
“[It] is part of our mandate to support the country in production and productivity.
We also support policy enhancement for the ANR sector.
We value the partnership with University of the Gambia and we have started supporting its school of agriculture.
We want to enhance the education system and also support water harvesting.
We believe that enhancing the water supply is an important part of enhancing production and productivity of agriculture in this country.
The university has been playing a key role in terms of human resource development for the whole sector.
“We welcome any initiative to develop the human resources in this area.
We have started supporting development of irrigation systems this year.
We welcome the initiative from the Guizhou University [in China] and hope this training will go a long way in developing the human resource needs required to support agriculture.
FAO stands ready to partner with institutions to support the UTG.”
Professor Cheng Ji Anping, associate dean, Guizhou University College of Agriculture, said a delegation of six experts from his university is expected to visit the country to help drive this initiative.
“The purpose of this trip is to identify the need for agricultural production in The Gambia. We also want to share decades of experiences we have accumulated during our work under the technology innovations we have been having with our Gambian counterparts,” he stated.