As Taiwanese Embassy gives rice seeds ‘Involve in food production’

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Vice President, Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy has urged Secretaries of State and members of the National Assembly to venture into food production in order to entice the Gambian populace to undertake initiatives in the productive sector of the economy.

The Vice President made this call yesterday at a ceremony held in her office at the State House in Banjul, where she received a donation of 20 bags of 50Kg Narica rice seeds from Dr Patrick Chang, Taiwanese Ambassador to The Gambia. This highly- acclaimed seeds - experimented and certified as having high quality yield by the Taiwanese Technical Mission (TTM) in The Gambia - were earmarked for women farmers, through the Women’s Bureau.

The donation came at a time when Gambian farmers are engaging in land preparation in anticipation of the fast-approaching rainy season.
Speaking at the ceremony, Vice President Njie-Saidy said the benchmark to achieve MDGs in food self-sufficiency and by poverty reduction by 2015 can only be realised, if the youth and men complement the efforts of women in the production sector. She warned that the country will face food crisis if people failed to gear up for the attainment of food self-sufficiency. She observed that the production of rice - the main staple food in The Gambia - has been declining while ironically, population increases. She said even major rice producing countries are resorting to importing rice because of the increased in population.

The Vice President then renewed President Jammeh’s call on everyone to go back-to-the-land to meet the collective interest the Gambian population instead of depending on importation for our survival. She recounted that this trend in food supply is being threatened by the growing world population, which must put everyone on the alert.
Vice President NJie-Saidy then commended the Taiwanese Embassy for the donation of the second consignment of seeds, after last year’s gesture. She said the President attaches a lot of importance to agriculture, alongside infrastructure, social and health sectors.
She stressed the need to track the output of the rice, adding that this will help in measuring performance. She acknowledged efforts by the Department of State for Agriculture to revitalise the seed stores across the country.

Kanja Sanneh, Secretary of State for Agriculture, observed that the donation came at a right time, as farmers have been reportedly contacting his office for seeds. Secretary of State Sanneh confirmed the state of preparedness by farmers for the farming season, which he attributed to the call by the President. He said the President has helped in repairing their tractors, adding that the process to revitalise agricultural stations in the country is on course.

He informed the ceremony that one Prof Lee in Taiwan has expressed desire to build agriculture university in the country during a visit to Taipei. He then thanked Taiwan for standing by The Gambia in difficult moments.
Dr Patrick Chang, Taiwanese Ambassador to The Gambia, expressed delight to present the rice seeds, adding that one metric ton of rice can yield 30-40 tons. Ambassador Chang said the TTM is also involved in other activities. 

The Taiwanese Diplomacy Chief in Banjul said a report on a survey by the Taiwanese agricultural mission in The Gambia is at a conclusive stage, assuring that it would soon be submitted.
He advised farmers to channel request for assistance through the Department of State for Agriculture, instead of directly writing to his embassy. He affirmed that the TTM is poised to the attainment of food self-sufficiency by 2015.
Lamin Ceesay, Deputy Director of Women’s Bureau, chaired the ceremony, which was also attended by the permanent secretaries at the Department of State for Agriculture.


Author: Written by Ebrima Jaw Manneh
Source: The Daily Observer Newspaper