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Friday, April 19, 2024

Youth and Sports Ministry, others support Vision 2016

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The development came last Tuesday at the conclusion of a five-day nationwide tour of rice farms in no fewer than four regions across the country by the Ministry of Youth and Sports and satellite institutions under its purview. 

While giving assurance of his ministry’s support at the different rice farms, Youth and Sports Minister, Alieu Jammeh applauded the youth for going back to the land in response to the president’s call. He said that the mass participation of youth in agriculture seeks to put hunger at bay. He used the tour to remind the young people of their crucial role in ensuring the realisation of the much-talked-about Vision 2016. The minister also promised that his ministry through the National Enterprise Development Initiative (NEDI) will help in marketing the produce of the farms. He said he was equally impressed that the youth of CRR are making best use of the tractors provided by the president. 

Emmanuel Mendy, the executive director of the National Youth Service Scheme said the institution has a four -man staff that is coordinating production and training at its Sapo rice farm. “This farm is mainly for training and production. NYSS is involved in training young people particularly in agricultural production and this is why we have this farm. Currently, we do not have youths on training here but it is our staff that is cultivating the farm. Whatever we produce from this place is used as a way of an income generating scheme for the organisation. We have trainees like the co-opted members who are based here; the produce is also used to support them in their feeding. We cannot strengthen the president’s Vision 2016 call without training and that is why we are using this place to ensure that we build the capacity of the youths in order for them to be able to do proper rice production. Rice production is a long chain that starts from land preparation, nursery, planting and harvesting.” 

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Momat Nyang, NYSS farm manager said that the purpose of the department of agriculture is to train Gambian youths on agricultural enterprises. NYSS, he revealed, has two farms in Sapo, Central River Region and Nyanibere in Serrekundanding in the West Coast Region. 

“The purpose of the Sapo farm is to produce rice because if you talk about rice production both in terms of research and production, it [Sapu] is the base. It is the largest instituted area engaged for rice production in the country both in terms of research and production. That is why we have the rice farm in Sapu. For the Nyanibere Farm, we have different components. Some of the trainees that used to come here have benefitted from other activities like information technology because we have the state-of-the-art IT lab in Sapu, agricultural mechanisation and some aquaculture programmes. Some of the young people who were brought here had the opportunity to learn some of these components in these enterprises.”

Landing Sanneh, the General Manager of NEDI, commenting on an annex to the institution’s1.8-hectare rice field in Jahally Pacharr, said labour work was supervised by NYSS staff during cultivation. He thanked the institution for proper management. He said that 1.3 hectares have already been harvested and awaiting processing. Mr Sanneh acknowledged that their main objectives include promoting youth participation in the agricultural sector.  

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Meanwhile, the Youth and Sports Minister and delegations visited other projects as well as assessed the level of preparation for the upcoming National Youth Conference in Mansakonko, Lower River Region. At the end of  the visit to  Changhai Youth Association millet farm in Sami, Central River Region, he observed: “I am happy to hear that the tractor provided for the youth helps to plough this farm at no cost. You can graduate and go back to the land and get more returns than the one in office.”

Babou Gaye Sonko, National Assembly member and APRC national youth mobiliser for his part lauded the efforts made by the youths, whilst urging them to venture into farming for sustainable development and the attainment of vision 2016. 

Hasimu Sidibeh, Changhai village regional youth association chairman said that the support received from the National Youth Council through the regional youth committee helped them in this year’s farming season. He noted, however, that the shortage of rain, scarcity of seeds and fertilizers are major constraints that affected this year’s production level of the association’s 4.5 hectares millet farm and 2 hectares of sesame farm with membership of 62 boys and 48 girls.

Also, the chief of Sami, Mam Demba Jallow, described the ministry’s delegation as a breakthrough in the development of the agricultural sector. He said that this shows the level of empowerment of youths, and willingness to heed to the call of the president.  

The visit also took the delegation to the Suwareh Kunda village youth garden which consists of 351 members including boys and girls. Brikamaba Youth Association also presented 24 bags of rice as part of this year’s produce.

The tour, which began on Thursday, took the delegation to Kuteh Jongbulu Society’s 2.5-hectare sesame farms in Kerr Selleh Village in Jokadu; a five-hectare garden in Kerr Ardo Village under the Livestock and Horticultural Development Project and a 4.5-hectare sorghum farm in Sami Changhai of the Central River Region. 


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