By Omar Bah
The executive Director, West Africa Rural Foundation Mohamed Kebbeh, has commended GYIN for their steadfastness and commitment to accompany rural populations and communities find and follow the path to sustainable livelihoods and wellbeing.
Speaking at the GYIN rural youth award recently, Mr. Kebbeh said GYIN’s foresight in recognising that socio-economic development in The Gambia will continue to depend on sustainable agricultural and rural development is commendable.
“Your resolute actions and engagement clearly show that youths in general and rural youths in particular do not intend to take the backseat in efforts to make meaningful change in the lives of Gambians,” he said.
He said the theme of this event is very timely, “Your message to each and every Gambian today is that rural youths will continue to play active and lead roles in transforming our agricultural sector.”
“Indeed, rural youths have to play pivotal roles along key agricultural value chains to enable the country meet its food requirement in a balanced and sustainable manner,” he said.
He said the theme also represents a challenge and call to government and all development actors. “Our challenge today is to provide the support and operational environment to make agricultural value chains work for youths across the country.”
“Yes we need our youths to be active along key agricultural value chains to help us feed our growing population. For this to happen however, we have a responsibility as development actors to provide the necessary ingredients for agricultural value chains to be attractive, functional and operational,” he said.
Mr. Kebbeh further stressed that the only way there can be a guarantee is the effective participation of our youths in Gambia’s agricultural transformation.
He continued: “In-as-much as we continue to emphasise participation, it is also important to underscore that participation must be associated with real benefits and improvements in livelihoods.”
He said the country cannot expect youths to continue to be active in the sector if agricultural value chains are incapable of responding positively to their aspirations and dreams.
“Investment in agricultural value chain development, with youths as the drivers of the process, must be a priority in our rural and agricultural development strategy,” he stressed.
He said West Africa Rural Foundation is committed to supporting and accompanying GYIN in its drive to promote active youth involvement in Gambia’s socioeconomic development agenda.
“This drive is at the heart of our mission, and we will actively engage key partners to work together in ensuring that agricultural value chains work for our youths and that their participation in these value chains translate into meaningful change in their lives,” he concluded.