FARMERS REQUEST FARM IMPLEMENTS DEPUTY MINISTER EXPLAINS PLAN

Abdoulie G.Dibba

During the nationwide tour of the Deputy Minister of Agriculture to the farming communities around the country, the farmers Deputy Minister and entourage at Bioram Dykerequested for government’s help in providing them with farm implements to boost productivity for food self-sufficiency. The farmers indicated their determination to respond to the president’s

 stated vision of making The Gambia food self-sufficient in rice by 2016 but that their main constraint in realising this is the lack of farm implements such as tractors, power tillers, seeders and sine-hoes.

When the deputy minister visited Boiram on the 3rd October 2015, as part of his tour, the farmers told him that they are pleased with the dyke built in their area which enables them to utilize the 360 ha rice field this year. The Boiram farmers noted that it would have been impossible to cultivate the rice field without the dyke. They also indicated that their main constraint is the lack of farm implements. They therefore appealed through the agriculture ministry for Government to help them with farm implements to improve productivity.

Responding to the request of the farmers, Deputy Minister Jammeh told the farmers that the Government has an agreement with the Islamic Development Bank regarding heavy farm implements and that the Land and Water Development and Management Project (NEMA) is engaged in it, adding that hopefully within three months or so, they will be in the country.

The deputy minister of agriculture stressed the need for the management of these implements to be seriously looked into, adding because “in the past a lot of tractors were purchased and given to individuals but due to improper management, almost all the tractors are grounded.”

“This is not what government can condone and therefore this new implements will be put under the management of a private enterprise and if you need their services, they charge you and if you pay, they do the services, be it ploughing, sowing or harvesting,” revealed Mr. Jammeh.

On the seeders and sine-hoes, the deputy minister of agriculture revealed that the Government has engaged the foundry at the Gambia Technical Training Institute (GTTI) to produce this equipment for them. He added that plans are at an advanced stage for the foundry to produce 900 seeders and sine-hoes for onward distribution to the farming community.

The deputy agriculture minister said the mode of distribution of these implements will be made known later but stressed that it would be given to deserving farmers who are using crude tools because of the lack of farm implements and not those who fold their arms and say “we do not have farm implements”.