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25TH OCTOBER, 2018

As part of efforts to transform the seed sector into a certified seed Agency the National seed secretariat upon request received breeder seeds of five varieties for specified ecologies from the Africa rice seed center. The foundation seeds were cultivated on trials at the Sapu swamps during the rainy season and has reached maturity stage. Hence a field day was organised on Thursday the 25th of October by the National Seed Secretariat in Sapu to share ideas on the progress made with the foundation seeds as well as comments and ways forward. The event was grazed by officials of NSS, NARI, national Assembly select committee on Agriculture and farmers from different villages across the country.

The program was held on site at the breeding area with the guests accorded welcome by the chair of the program. This was followed by a brief welcoming remarks by the station manager, Mr. Jalamang Camara who highlighted the importance of the field day which is to showcase the accomplishment of the breeders with support from the NSS. He added that, the role of the NSS in seed multiplication is very crucial. He seized the opportunity to compliment the efforts of the National Assembly select committee on Agriculture as well as the farmers for grazing the occasion amidst their busy schedules.

Morro Manka, the Director General NSS for his part said that, seed multiplication has been an old practice in the Gambia but not internationally recognized as there is no seed certification agency. He noted that the WAAPP project during its mandate has spent millions procuring seeds from other countries which our locally produced seeds have more quality called on the NAMs to contribute their quota in tapping funds for the National Seed Secretariat to complement its planned activities.

Ansumana Jarjue, Director General NARI in his speech said that NAMs have always been collaborating with NARI as the research institute in the Gambia. . He lamented on the lack of machinery to complement their work, adding that, seeds are produced from those fields and hence they need all the necessary support to enhance their breeding program. He concluded that, mobilizing financial resources and rehabilitation of their labs is a cause for concern and needs urgent attention.

Famara Trawally, Regional Director CRR/S spoke on behalf of the PS1 and highlighted the importance of seed multiplication. He said millions are spent on purchasing seeds when we have quality seeds grown locally. He added that, rice is our staple food and we need to enhance its growth. Sighting other countries who produce 60 tons or more and hence the need to emulate such success.

Alagie Sillah the vice chair of the NAM select committee on Agriculture speaking on behalf of his fellow NAMS said site visits are empirical evidence of success stories of projects. He assured that they would do their utmost in empowering the Agriculture Sector. He called on the technocrats of Agric to raise all issues of concern to their notice. He further added that, evidence of impacts made on production makes it easier to seek funds and get it approved. He compliments NARI for their tremendous efforts and gave them hope that their concerns would be tabled at the assembly for necessary action. He concluded by expressing satisfaction over what he witnessed at the breeding site.

This was followed by a tour of the field where farmers’ were introduced to the different varieties of breeds. They were expected to raise questions of concerns as they would be selected in due cause to make the trials of the breeds in their areas.

Some of the breeders were upland varieties and do not need a water to produce and hence it does not breed well while others are lowland varieties that are tolerant and can breed in acidic conditions. Villages like Kiang Kaif who are encountering problems of salinity in their fields would be given trial breeders to cultivate.

Two farmers Ba Saikou Kanteh of Salikenni NBR and Awa Jange of Boiram CRR/S gave the vote of thanks on behalf of fellow farmers. Ba Saikou Kanteh said that agriculture is the core of any development and seeds are there to enhance productivity. He said the Gambia breeding quality seeds locally would save farmers from receiving late and poor quality seeds from other countries. He said such problems led to the establishment of the NSS who has been collaborating with farmers since its inception. He further made mention of their recent convergence in Mansakonko to establish the national seed cooperative. He therefore called on everyone to work towards the unity of the cooperative and emulate the success stories of neighboring countries.

Awa Jange on the other hand expressed delight over her regions success in agriculture productivity, adding that, a lot of rice is grown in their field which could be sufficient to serve the whole country if only they gain the needed resources financial and material. She called on authorities to select the right personnel when establishing farmer cooperatives and enjoined her fellow farmers to be independent in their endeavors noting that, it is the primary factor for the underdevelopment of Gambian farmers.


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