The Gambia Horticultural Enterprises (GHE) recently graduated 100 youths, who completed a three-month intensive training on agro-food processing and vegetable production.
Speaking at the ceremony, Momodou A. Ceesay managing director of GHE, explained that his enterprise is a multi-purpose agro-business company engaged in the entire horticultural value-chain from farm inputs and machinery distribution, farming, agro-food processing, marketing to other services such as training.
The programs, he observed, provides skills, competence, and job opportunities to youth involved in agri-business and agro-processing.
"Investing in skills development through such programmes will go a long way in creating and expanding opportunities for meaningful employment in the agricultural and food sector. The Gambia is currently experiencing the highest rate of growth in youth and women population. Hence, the inclusiveness and empowerment of women in our socio-economic development cannot be overemphasized. If young people and women are trained and empowered to take a central role in agriculture, food production and processing will be an effective strategy to building a resilient food sufficient that will create economic opportunities for the youths."
He spoke of the enormous opportunities in the agricultural and food sector, saying they must be innovative and avoid copying other people's ideas.
Yusupha Keita, technical adviser for International Trade Center stated that the project recognises the role of TVET in imparting skills to young people, thereby contributing to the country's economic growth.
"The ITC has supported the development of the TVET roadmap, sector skill councils, launch of formalised apprenticeship and training of over 800 youth and women since its launching."
Hassan Gaye, deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Trade, said the government will endeavor to support similar initiatives, adding that they are committed and that the lessons learned from the innovative programme would be replicated in other regions.
"We are always looking for more innovative ways of maximizing impacts of skills training and enterprise developments, as it is the only way we can meet the various targets and objectives we have set for in our employment creation and youth empowerment programmes." he said.