The Point (Banjul)

Gambia: Boost for Department of Agriculture

Official of the West African Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP), on Monday handed over 9 vehicles, 30 motorbikes and 2 station wagons, worth millions of Dalasis to the Department of Agriculture, for onward transmission to regional directorates at the field level and NARI.

Speaking at the handing over ceremony of the donated items to the beneficiary, the WAAPP country coordinator gave an overview of the project and its activities.

According to him, the WAAPP project is funded by the World Bank and the Spanish Government at a tune of 12 million US Dollars.

He said the project is a ten-year programme, with the aim of enhancing agricultural production and productivity in West Africa.

He also stated that the sub-regional project has two phases and The Gambia is benefiting in the first phase.

"Today's activity is to commission nine double cabin pickups and thirty motorcycles and two station wagons, meant for regional agricultural directorates," he said.

Sosseh said the mobility is procured through the project to support both the project coordinating unit and the two sisterly institutes, NARI and the Department of Agriculture in the implementation of the project activity.

He also stated that NARI is allocated with five double pick-ups for their five programme areas, which are implementing the five commodities of the WAAPP and one station wagon, to support its team of management.

For his part, Alfredo GADEA, project officer at the Spanish International Cooperation for Development Agency, under the embassy of Spain, described the presentation of mobility to the Department of Agriculture as a laudable gesture.

He said the project is moving in the right direction as the management of the project is living up to expectations, by supporting the farmers, particularly the regional agricultural directorates with the aim of ensuring food security.

He also challenged the project management team to continue their hard work in ensuring that farmers have the best tools for agricultural purpose.

For his part, the World Bank Liason Officer, Dr Alieu Badara Joof, said the fact that agriculture has always been the backbone of the economy, he said, it is time to make more proactive moves towards its development.

While stating that the donated items will make a change in their activities, he said their expectation is to make a result for next year in terms of increase in production and productivity.

In his official handing over speech, the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Solomon Owens, said WAAPP has now provided the most needed resources for effective implementation of the project.

He said it is now left to the implementing partners to ensure that production and productivity results are realised at the end of the day.

He said the project aims to increase productivity of natural resources for the benefit of the farming population and the country at large.

He further challenged the staff of the Department of Agriculture to take ownership of the donated items.

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