The Government of The Gambia through the Ministry of Agriculture has purchased D15, 545, 000.00 worth of certified rice seeds from four communities in Central River Region (CRR). These communities are: Niani Sukuta, Wellingara, Jahally and Madina Nfally. A four-man team, led by the Director General of the National Seed Secretariat, Mr. Morro Manga, have headed to these beneficiary communities to verify the seed stock and that the seed growers have received their monies.
Seed growers in all the four communities expressed their delight at this undertaking by government. Mr. Saikou Barrow of Niani Sukuta, a member of the Seed Growers Association, said they are happy and grateful that President Adama Barrow and his government have fulfilled their promise to buy their seeds. “The monies accrued from the sales of the rice seeds will go a long way towards improving our lives and livelihoods,” he asserted.
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 us, we should make best use of this opportunity and grow more rice seeds in the future,” he advised.
The Director General of the National Seed Secretariat, Morro Manga, revealed how the initiative came about. He 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 seeds since there was no ready market for the farmers. He said the President in turn asked the Minister of Agriculture Hon. Amie Fabureh to endeavour to have their seeds bought.
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,” he assured. Morro Lamin Bah, Head of Seed Quality Control and Certification Unit (SQCCU) of the National Seed Secretariat, explained that four rice varieties were produced from this activity. These, he highlighted, were: Sahel 134, FARO 44, WAB 105 and IET 31-37.
He explained that the activity was tripartite arrangement among the National Seed Secretariat, Nema /P2RS and the certified seed growers.
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 is expected the rough impact of the COVID19 pandemic on seed availability for the 2020 cropping season, will be reduced.
By Momodou Kanteh, Information Officer MoA.