By Mamadou Edrisa Njie
In an exclusive interview on Tuesday, 18th June, 2019, with the National Agricultural Land and Water Management Development Project (Nema), Mr. Momodou L. Gassama, the Project Director, gave the latest updates on some of the project’s success with special focus on support to cooperatives and linkages between producers, economic operators and other actors of the value chain. These initiatives have been ongoing since the start of project implementation in 2012.
“Over the last 2 years, the cooperatives have generated cumulative savings of more than eleven million dalasis (D11,000,000,000) from the purchase and sale of fertilizer alone,” he disclosed.
According to him, the six cooperatives were created in the cluster areas of: Boiram and Kudang in Central River Region South (CRR South), Bajarally Suba in Central River Region North (CRR North), Jurunku and Salikene in North Bank Region (NBR) and Pakalinding in Lower River Region (LRR).
Mr. Gassama stated that the project provided support in organizational management, initial seed-funding as well as linkages with the Gambia Groundnut Cooperation (GGC) and the National Seeds Secretariat (NCS) to promote access to fertilizer and improved seeds for rice production.
The Nema project, according to the project director, is financed by the government of the Gambia and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a Rome based UN Agency specialized in rural and agricultural development.
According to Mr. Gassama, since its official launching in 2012, the project has had a significant impact on the lives of Gambian women and youth. He noted that the project has supported the formation of six agricultural cooperatives to serve the interests of their members along rice value chains across the country.
“With this initial support of the project”, noted Mr. Gassama, “the 6 cooperatives are now playing the role of economic operators, facilitating access to fertilizer for their members through bulk-buying from the Gambia Groundnut Cooperation (GGC). With the revenues generated and the trust they have built with GGC over the years, the cooperatives are now able to secure fertilizer for their members without direct project support, thereby laying the fundamental foundation for sustainability after the phasing-out of the project”.
The project focal for the cooperatives, Mr. Bakary Jammeh, highlights additional supported that has been provided to the cooperatives: “the project has also supported the construction of nineteen seeds and grains storage facilities across the six cooperatives, making it possible for farmers to store and effectively plan the marketing of harvested paddy!”
By Mamadou Edrisa Njie