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AGRIC ENGINEERING SERVICES TRAINS TEN TRACTOR OPERATORS FUNDED BY FASDEP

The Agric Sector in the Gambia for decades after her independence has been practiced on a subsistence scale with farmers using local or traditional tools to engage in yearly seasonal farming. Hence the sector still suffers setbacks with the country still relying on imports to meet the demands of its population. The remedy to this could be mechanizing agriculture with the use of modern machines and farming implements to reduce hard labor and drudgery on farmers.

This paradigm shift could not be achieved only by government and the Ministry. Hence, the need for agricultural projects to fund viable income earning and sustainable practices in farming that will boost production levels.

The FASDEP project under the Ministry since it began its mandate in 2012, has embarked on series of interventions countrywide in a bid to scale up the living conditions of farmers through their interventions. This include matching grants, fishponds, poultry, and construction of access roads just to mention a few.

 

Its latest intervention is a commencement of a pilot program with other collaborators, such as NEDI and mandate is given to the Agriculture Engineering Service to train a 10 Youths on tractor operations at the Agric farmer training center in Jenoi LRR. The event that commenced on Monday the 15th October brought together Youth in Agriculture Service (YAS) from different regions. The program is a pilot program initiated by FASDEP in collaboration with the Agriculture engineering services who are mandated to train the participants as well as other stakeholders including NEDI (National Enterprise Development Initiative).

 

OBJECTIVES:

The main objectives of the program are to train 10 youths on tractor operations, maintenance, safety precautions as well as its sustenance for the long term usage as a pilot program. Hence participants are expected to have utmost understanding of the machine before the end of the training.

  • It is expected that beneficiaries would be gainfully employed with the use of the tractor;
  • Provide service for their communities specifically farmers;
  • Earn income to enhance their livelihoods.

Day 1 of the training began with the usual opening ceremony by the Director, Agric Engineering Unit, Mr. Mustapha Minteh who welcomed participants and gave them an insight of the purpose of the program. In his speech he highlighted that, FASDEP identified this groups in a bid to train youths in the operation of tractors which would later be handed over to the beneficiaries in due course. He further gave a brief outline of the program guide which involve presentation sessions in theory for the first two days and the subsequent days would be practical sessions including field demonstrations on ploughing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Pa Tamba Jammeh, Principal Agric Engineer, for his part said the training is very important and it has been a culture for his unit to assemble any tractor purchased for the use of farmers. He added that the responsibility is mandated to the Agric engineering service to train them before onward transmission to the beneficiaries and hence the need to gather the needed information to be able to operate the machine when finally handed over to them by the project.

Mr. Lamin Jawneh, Assistant Agriculture Engineer who doubles as the focal point for this project said the importance of this training is to teach participants how start this tractor and other operating methods. He added that, the machine is critical and thus, needs vast knowledge before its operation. He urged them to be committed and gain the needed knowledge before the end of the seven-day convergence while stressing the need to maintain the machine for its sustainability. He assured them that, the FASDEP project seeks to empower youths and hence the operators are very crucial in this pilot program.

Mr. Ebrima Sabally one of the trainees from CRR/N spoked on behalf of fellow participants. He thanked the project FASDEP as well as the AES for giving them the opportunity to build their capacities, train them as entrepreneurs and bought them machines to enhance their livelihoods. He called on fellow participants to make best use of the machine to generate income while urging them to train other potential operators for unforeseen circumstances.

Mr. Saihou Saidy Bah, District Extension Supervisor who doubles as the FASDEP focal point LRR represented the Regional Director. In his opening speech highlighted the importance of seeking knowledge and utilizing it for personal development. He added that, this is a rare privilege for the participants who are lucky to be part pf this pilot program and thus, stressed the need to practice the knowledge they would gain from this training and urged them to make it a challen

ge upon themselves to explore all they need to know about the training.

 

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