The ongoing tour of the ruling party's women mobiliser, Isatou Jifanga Jarju, continued on Tuesday with visits to eight women farms and horticultural gardens in the North Bank and Central River Regions.
The women leader is accompanied by a high-powered delegation, including the deputy permanent secretaries at the Ministry of Agriculture and the Office of the Vice President respectively, representatives from the Office of the President and other senior women figures.
Jarju and delegation visited farms in Kerr Alagie Malick, Chamen Agricultural Training and Seed Multiplication Center and Bali Mandinka, all in NBR; as well as Jahur, Kaur and Jareng Kerr Mamut in CRR. At these fields, the women leader commended President Jammeh for all the support he extended to Gambian women, but appealed for more assistance in the areas of farm equipment like power tillers as well as the erection of perimeter fences around some gardens to avoid animal intrusion.
Speaking at a Gambia-Senegal border village of Kerr Alagie Malick in Jokadou District, Mobiliser Jarju said President Jammeh's "eat what you grow and grow what you eat" slogan is something that every Gambian should cherish since it is in the interest of national development.
She told the women that for President Jammeh to continue to support them, they have to genuinely organise themselves and put in place workable farming strategies. At a visit to a nursery garden in Bali Mandinka, the mobiliser was shown different types of fruit ranging from orange to mango, pawpaw and cashew. The head of the nursery garden, Karamo Dembo, said their intervention is meant to encourage people diversify agriculture and engage in planting more fruit trees. "We are doing this because we believe that no other person will come from outside to develop the country for us," he said.
The women mobiliser commended the initiators of the project, saying "we must encourage the consumption of what is grown locally in order to halt our dependency on imported food products".
At the Chamen Agricultural Training and Seed Multiplication Center, the mobiliser discussed with women and officials of the center on issues bordering on the attainment of the 'V-2016' initiative.
The manager of the Center, Kebab Camara, said they have trained over 1000 women in agricultural development, and informed that this year, they have plans to plough a 15-hectare farm of different crop varieties including rice. At Jahur women vegetable growers' garden, Mobiliser Jarju was taken on a conducted tour of the garden by the women. The garden is being utilised by women of Jahur Mandinka and Jahur Fula.
The president of the garden, Kumba Jallow, informed the entourage that since they started the project, they have been able to address most of their needs with better earning from their harvest. Despite the gains, she identified the manual way of irrigation and the lack of proper fencing as some of their biggest constraints.
The deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Ndeye Fatou Trawally, urged women to play a significant role in the implementation of 'Vision 2016', saying her Ministry is very keen to work towards its attainment.
She indicated the Ministry's desire to expand the existing projects to incorporate some of the targets of the 'Vision 2016' initiative. She however appealed to the women to expand the garden and include rice cultivation in line with the targets of 'V-2016'.
At Kaur Janneh Kunda, Jarju was taken on a tour of a vast land that has already been cleared by the women of the area for rice cultivation. There, the women appealed for the provision of accessible roads to the farms, informing that they endure a lot to access their fields for farming.
The president of the Kaur Janneh Kunda Women Farmers, Emily Nying, commended the mobiliser for the visit and assured of their readiness to support the president in the attainment of his 'Vision 2016' targets.
Mobiliser Jarju encouraged the women to diversify agricultural activities in line with the objectives of the government and leadership.
The mobiliser and her entourage ended their Tuesday activities with a visit to a farm in Jareng Kerr Mamut where she was taken on a conducted of the area by the Upper Saloum women mobiliser, Aji Sirreh Njie.