The Minister of Agriculture Ismaila Sanyang Monday presided over the opening of a sub-regional training on variety cataloguing in the implementation of the Harmonised Regional Seed Policy held at a local hotel in Bijilo.
The forum brought together participants from Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and The Gambia.
Speaking at the occasion, Minister Sanyang stated that under the dynamic leadership of President Jammeh, the Government of The Gambia has recognised the formation of National Seed Council and its subsidiary bodies, thus leading to the enactment of the Seed Quality Control and Marketing Act 2014 and National Seed Policy 2014.
He said the document gave rise to the seed council whose technical arm shall be the secretariat through which the Seed Council is performing its functions.
Minister Sanyang hinted that in The Gambia, farmers and private sector partners are fully aware of the benefits of a good seed system established by Government as a platform for economic growth, increased agricultural productivity, increased farmer income and poverty alleviation in the face of threats such as pests, diseases and climate change.
He disclosed that the West Africa Agricultural Productivity Project (WAAPP) is currently hosting the consultant for a Seed System, noting that the consultant has commenced work for the establishment of an efficient and functional seed system.
The Agric Minister thanked USAID, CORAF, CILLS among other partners for their support.
Dr Paul Senghore, a representative of CORAF affirmed that the training would focus on technical aspects for each of the participating countries to prepare a national plant variety catalogue and also to share experience and information about variety of seeds.
Speaking on behalf of the CILLS Executive Director, Dr Hassan Jallow, Deputy Permanent Secretary CORAFCILLS at the Ministry of Agriculture revealed that the last catalogue of plant species and varieties for the region was done in 2008.
He thanked the West Africa Seed Programme funded by USAID for providing the funds of the Banjul meeting.