The Government of The Gambia through the Ministry of Agriculture has purchased D15, 545, 000.00 worth of rice seeds from four communities in Central River Region. On Tuesday a four man team led by the Director General of the National Seed Secretariat, Mr. Morro Manga visited the four communities (Niani Sukuta, Wellingara, Jahally and Madina Nfally) to ascertain that the seed growers have received their monies and also to verify the seed stocks.
Seed growers in all the four communities expressed their delight for the initiative taken by the government of The Gambia through the Ministry of Agriculture to buy their seeds.
Mr. Saikou Barrow of Niani Sukuta seed growers association said “we the seed growers are happy that H.E The President of the Republic of The Gambia Mr. Adama Barrow and his government has fulfilled their promise to buy our seeds. The monies accrued from the sales of these rice seeds will go a long way in improving our lives and livelihoods and that of our families.” Samba Manneh, President of Madina Nfally seed growers association called on seed growers in the region to take seed production seriously, now that government is ready to help seed growers they should make best use of this opportunity and grow more rice seeds in the future.
The Director General of the National Seed Secretariat Mr. Morro Manga said the seed growers of these communities made a special appeal to President Barrow during his meet the people tour for government to help buy their seed since there was no ready market for the farmers. He said the President in turned asked the Minister of Agriculture Hon. Amie Fabureh to endeavour through her ministry to buy the seeds.
Mr. Manga said until the establishment of the National Seed Secretariat in 2017, The Gambia was relying on external seed sourcing within the sub region simply because there was no seed certification agency in the country. “All these 310.9 tones presented here today were all tested and certified by the NSS and they can be sold even to other countries around the sub-region.”
In his turn, Mr. Morro Lamin Bah Head of Seed Quality Control and Certification Unit (SQCCU) of the National Seed Secretariat, mentioned that four rice varieties were produced from this activity as follows; Sahel 134, FARO 44, WAB 105 and IET 31-37. He said the activity was tripartite arrangement among the National Seed Secretariat, Nema /P2RS and the certified seed growers.
It could be recalled that the Honourable Minister for Agriculture Amie Fabureh promised to wipe farmers’ tears; she vowed that the ministry under her watchful eyes will ensure that the plight of farmers are addressed. With the outbreak of Coronavirus, it is expected that agricultural production will be affected seriously in the coming rainy season. With this quantity of certified rice seed, it will reduce the effect of Coronavirus on seed availability for the 2020 dropping season.
By Momodou Kanteh, Information Officer MoA.