Abdoulai G. Dibba

The Food and Agriculture Sector Development Project (FASDEP), on Friday December 14th, handed over Farm Machinery worth D35 Million to fourteen youth organisations, and six individual farmers at its Headquarters in Cape Point, Bakau.

In his statement, Deputy Permanent Secretary for Projects and Programs at the Ministry of Agriculture Omar Jammeh, said in order for the Gambia to be able to feed herself, the system of agriculture needs to improve from a highly labour intensive one, to a medium input agriculture or even a more advanced and modern one with machineries, in line with the National Development Plan (NDP). This he said, would require increase access to light equipment or machinery, for both production and post-harvest processing coupled with the use of improved seeds, fertilizer, insecticides and conservation practices.

As a result of the above, he went on, FASDEP in collaborated with the National Enterprise Development Initiatives (NEDI) of the Ministry of Youth and Sport, Agri-Business and Engineering Services of the DoA, to establish Agric. Service Hiring Centres, owned and managed by youth.

“It will only provide the much needed reliable agricultural mechanisation services, but creates employment for beneficiary youth,” DPS Jammeh stated.

In his statement at the handing over, Project Director Kebba Jarjue stated that FASDEP is funded by Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), with a Grant amounting to USD26.6 Million and the Government of the Gambia, the African Development Bank being the supervising entity of the GASFP Fund.

Project Director Jarjue told the gathering that the development objective of FASDEP is to reduce rural household poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition, through increased agricultural production, productivity and commercialization; that the project operates in the West Coast, and in the Lower and Central River Region North and South.

He indicated that the project has intervened in supporting several activities including Tidal Irrigation Development, tidal access (causeways and bridges), and water retention (dykes and spillways), geared towards increasing rice production and productivity. Jarjue asserted that FASDEP has one upland conservation and access road linking producers to markets, construction of livestock markets, aquaculture, small ruminant fattening and breeding schemes, poultry production for farmer based organisations and Schools, horticultural gardens for communities and Schools, processing, support to School feeding implemented by the World Food Program, review and printing of nutrition education materials for Schools and communities, cereal banking and stock piling among others. The ceremony he said, is part of the matching grant activity of the project, which is one of the investment mechanisms of FASDEP. “The aim of matching grant is to help selected Farmer based organisations and individual agro enterprises, to realize their productive capacities by assisting them with seed money for effective take off, so as to see agriculture as a business opportunity that could be run profitably,” he said.

He said the grant is to leverage private investment and to enhance the acquisition of productive assets in various sub-project activities along the value chains of both crops and livestock; that the project adopted a cost sharing ratio of 60 percent, with a ceiling of US $ 50,000 for farmer base organizations and US $ 20, 000 for individual agro enterprises, contributed by FASDEP; that the beneficiary contribution is less than 40 percent of investment cost of the proposed agro-enterprise.

“This is aimed at enhancing the acquisition of productive assets by the beneficiaries, as a means of increasing agricultural production, productivity and value addition to contribute to food and nutrition security and income generation in the intervention communities,” Jarjue stated. 

In the fourth batch he went on, six approved beneficiaries out of sixty-four applied for tractors to enhance their cultivation; that all 6 tractors have been delivered by the supplier and assessed by officials of the Agriculture Engineering Services (AES) as complete and satisfactory with all the required accessories.

The following are the beneficiaries of the tractors:

Banni Village Devlopment Group, Banni Village, CRR-North 1 tractor; Kajali EB Baba SillahJailan Bakadagi, CRR-North 1 tractor; Niani Sukuta Fangkanta Turu Yiriwa KafoNiani Sukuta, CRR-North 1 tractor; Senela Kafo, Kiang Nema, LRR 1 tractor; Imam Bakawsu Fofana, Sankwia, LRR 1 tractor; Alhagi Basaikou Barrow Jarra Barrow Kunda, LRR 1 tractor.

Jarjue said these will be provided to 14 youth groups based on the FASDEP matching grant scheme cost sharing ratio of 60%, and 40% by Beneficiaries.

“Performance contracts will be signed with the beneficiary youth groups and 40% of the cost will be repaid within 3 to 5 years duration, depending on the cost of the machine. The 40% repayments will be lodged into a consolidated mechanisation fund that would be used to establish more service centres across the country,” he stated.

The following youth associations are the beneficiaries of the Machines:-

NYSS Nyaniberreh, WCR 1 Tractor and 2 Multipurpose milling machine; Sanyaghor Group WCR 1 Tractor, 2 Multipurpose milling machine and 3 Coos Thresher; Kanlagi Group WCR1 Tractor, 2 Power tillers, and 3 Multipurpose milling machine; Sankandi/Nioro Jataba Group LRR 1 Tractor, 2  Multipurpose milling machines, 3 Coos Threshers and 4 Findi processing machines; Kiang Karantaba LRR 1 Power Tiller and 2 Rice Milling Machines; Jarra Soma/ Sankuya and Kanni Kunda Group LRR 1 Tractor, 2 Rice milling machines, 3 Multipurpose milling machines and 4 Coos Threshers; Bureng Group LRR 1 Tractor and  2 Coos Threshers; Dankunku Group CRR – South 1 Groundnut Grinder (paste), 2 Multipurpose Milling Machines and 3 Coos Threshers; Misira  Njoben  CRR – South   1 Tractor, 2 Groundnut Oil Extraction Machines, 3 Coos Threshers and 4 Rice Threshers; Saruja Group CRR – South 1 Tractor, 2 Power tillers, 3 Rice milling machines, 4 Reaper (harvester) and 5 Tapaulin; NYSS Sapu CRR-South 1 Tractor, 2 Power tillers, 3 Rice Threshers, 4 Tarpaulins and 5 Reaper (harvesters); Kuntaur/Wassu CRR – North 1 Power tiller, 2 Rice milling machines, 3 Rice Threshers, 4 Tarpaulins, 5 Multipurpose milling machines and 6 Reaper (Harvesters); Nyanga Bantang CRR – North            1 Tractor, 2 Coos Threshers, 3 Groundnut Oil Extraction machines and 4 Irrigation pumping machines; and finally, Jailand Bakadagi CRR – North 1 Power tiller, 2 Rice milling machines, 3 Rice Threshers, 4 Tarpaulins, 5 Multipurpose milling machines and 6 Reaper (Harvesters).

Other speakers at the handing over ceremony include the Director General of Agriculture, Dr. Saihou Sanyang, the Director of NEDI Abbas Bah and Deputy Governor of CRR Omar Sey. They called on the beneficiaries to manage the machines properly and open an account for their sustainability.

The also called on the beneficiaries to work with the Agric. Regional offices for proper advice on the maintenance of the machines and their proper usage.

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