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Department of Agriculture and Nema P2RS embarks on Countrywide Trek

The impacts of climate change are continuously and adversely affecting the poorest and most vulnerable regions in the world. Agricultural activities have been hampered and yields loss due to the ramifications of climate change on crops.

The Gambia being one of the poorest nations in the world has also being severely affected with the menace. This has resulted to low crop yields due to erratic rain falls which poses adverse effects to food security and a drop in the countries per capita.

These and other underlying factors prompted the p2rs project under Nema to introduce and fund a project called Conservation Agriculture. This is a practice that is climate resilient and have been practiced though in the wrong way in the Gambia. Other countries in the sub region especially neighbouring Senegal have registered success adopting this system of farming.

The system is said to have its own principles unlike the conventional way of farming. It requires minimum tillage, application of fertiliser and specific implements are used for the practice.

The project is coordinated by the Department of Agriculture who are given the mandate to facilitate the program and implementation by the regional directorates who are closer to beneficiaries the farmers. The first phase of the program was implemented in Agricultural mixed farming centres around the country during the horticulture season. Farmers were trained through the help of experts and extension personnel who helped in supervision for accuracy. Analysis were made on the differences between the conventional way and conservation agriculture. The latter as anticipated by experts brought about good yield and it was a success.

This was followed by a training at the agricultural regional farmer training centre in jenoi. It involved extension workers who were trained on principles guiding the successful implementation and a step down training with farmers. Potential farmers in each region were selected for the implementation of the third phase.

This involves the cultivation of field crops by selected farmers. The project has done its bid with the provision of all required funding for the implementation of the third phase. The DOA as the facilitators of the project purchased herbicides and other inputs which involved two cows handed over to regional directors to be given to the beneficiaries for successful implementation

A four day trek was organised for the distribution of these implements and inputs for the commencement of work. This was facilitated and headed by the specialist of the p2rs project Mr Kebba manka and DOA officials involving the Director of administration Ebou Edmondson Mendy who doubles as the focal person for the project.

During the four day trek Mendy urged selected farmers to take the work with seriousness as they were selected from the lot. Adding that, it is a team work involving the project and the Department.  He said the project has given the necessary funding and they are there to do their quota in the distribution of the inputs and further assess the selected areas for the implementation.

He engaged the regional directors on the modalities involved in the implementation of the practice. He stressed the need for report writing and timely collection of data by extension workers in every stage of the implantation from site selection, the crop cultivated and most importantly yield data. This he said, will give a clear analysis on the differences between the two systems of farming.

Mr. Manka the specialist from the p2rs project for his part laid emphasis on the importance of conservation agriculture with regards to its adaptation by farmers. He sighted success stories around the sub region and it’s resilience to the changing climate.

He further urged the farmers to do their best in the success of the practice. Adding that, trust is bestowed on them from a wide range of choices. HE commended the MFCS especially the Njau mixed farming centre that emerged first for the horticulture component with bumper harvest.

He anticipates the same success for the field crops and further challenged the farmers to make good use of the implements and involve extension workers in every step of the practice.

The regional directors from all the selected regions welcomed the project with delight.They assured the team for their continuous commitment and promised to accomplish the task that lay ahead successfully.

The regional director for CRR South Ousman Colley recommended a field day for other farmers to be abreast with the new practice.

He reiterated the importance in communication especially among extension workers and directors which will enhance the efficient execution of tasks.

 

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