Gambia’s Adama Barrow has expressed his government commitment to engaging Gambian youths in agriculture as he launched the KR2 tractors and equipment project.
“In this model, youths will be employed and trained to operate the tractors and provide services, such as ploughing, sowing and harvesting, to the farming communities across the country,” the Gambian leader told the colourful crowd that stormed New Yundum football field, West Coast Region, to witness the event.
With the support of Japanese government which injected nearly, the KR2 project aims at propelling the agricultural sector into the orbit of mechanisation. Consequently, agricultural commercialisation is expected to play a significant role in not only helping the underprivileged farmers to move out of the vicious cycle of poverty, but scaling up gov’t effort on youth employment.
Barrow announced that his government will put up designated service centres with the view to bringing services to the doorstep of every Gambian.
As gov’t is teaming up with the private sector to turn this project into a success, President Barrow made it clear that “competent private players will be invited and a fleet of tractors put under their management.”
Additionally, he assured that a “dedicated maintenance teams of the Agricultural Engineering Service Unit and regional mechanics” will be tasked with the responsibility to making sure there is “proper usage and maintenance of the machines.”
Diving into the positive results already achieved by the pilot project, President Barrow expressed delight at the speed the private entity Maruo Engineering was able to reach its targets in 60 days.
“I am pleased to say that, within a span of two months, from March 2nd to May 2nd, a total surface area of one thousand, seven hundred (1700) hectares was cultivated in the region,” Barrow revealed with a tone of satisfaction. “
Speaking earlier, the Minister of Agriculture Amie Fabureh seized the opportunity to emphasize that it is under the ‘abled leadership’ of President Barrow that her ministry succeeded in completing a panoply of “policies and strategies of which this mechanisation approach is anchored.”
According to her, the KR2 project will be instrumental in “increasing production and productivity of crops value chains and more importantly, improve food security, increase income status and reduced drudgery for rural youth and women farmers.”
Written by Abdoulie John
Photo: Saul Touray / State House
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