Ambassador French visits Ecowas funded NARI youth programme

Ambassador French visits Ecowas funded NARI youth programme

By Sulayman Waan

The ambassador of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) to The Gambia, Miatta French last Tuesday visited Ecowas funded ongoing youth training programme being implemented by the National Agricultural Research Institution (NARI) at its Yundum Horticultural Centre.

The visit was aimed at getting first-hand information on the ongoing training programme at Yundum as well as to have an interface with NARI officials and the trainees.

The Ecowas funded training programme has been divided into several components including; water conservation technique; crop production technique; organic manure production technique; quality food production technique, agricultural business and entrepreneurship; Agro forest system and quality rice seed production techniques.

Moreover, all components of the training programme are taking place at the Yundum Horticultural Centre except quality rice seed production technique training which is underway at Sapu in the Central River Region south.

At Yundum Horticultural Centre, Dr.  Demba Jallow, director general of NARI described the training programme as essential in advancing the country’s agricultural sector, thereby creating job opportunities for the youth.

“This training is very important and the youth can use their skills to venture into business and generate income. Nowadays, fertilizer is very expensive and we have seen what happened during the COVID 19 and Ukraine-Russia War. There are so many embargoes. And now output from the farmers is declining. So, we cannot rely on external agriculture; therefore, the youth can process organic manure and sell it.” he said.

NARI DG commended Ecowas for funding the training programme and providing the needed skills and knowledge for young Gambians.

He, however, acknowledged that training the youth alone is not enough, saying there is a need for Ecowas to provide them with grants to ensure they venture into agri-business after completing the training programme.

DG Jallow thus called on trainees to apply the skills gained after the training programme to enhance social development in the society.

Also speaking, Dr. Lamin Dibba, director of research at NARI, extended gratitude to the Ecowas ambassador to The Gambia for visiting the trainees despite her busy schedule.

 He equally acknowledged the efforts, commitment and dedication of the trainers in training the students effectively, saying they have been doing a great job in equipping the trainees with the much-needed skills and knowledge.

Dr. Dibba underscored the importance of rice cultivation in any national development endeavors, pointing out that NARI has deployed the quality rice seed production techniques class at Sapu to ensure effective training.

On her part, Miatta French, Ecowas Ambassador to The Gambia expressed delight on the smooth progress of the project, further expressing appreciation with the smooth implementation of the training programme.

The training, she added, is part of Ecowas efforts to promote food self-sufficient in the tiny West African nation to enhance social development.

 “I am very impressed with the number of women in the training programme and even some of the presentations were done by women. I am very happy that agriculture for women is formalised.”

She thus urged them to be steadfast and always use their skills to earn a decent living.

SW/COB/01/02/24

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