January 18, 2021
The Regional Rice Value Chain Project in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has concluded its Inception Workshop and Technical launch of the project with stakeholders and farmers from the Kambia and Bonthe districts respectively.
The purpose of the inception workshop and technical launch was to engage the stakeholders and farmers to brainstorm on the project design and objectives in enhancing the successful implementation of the project in the identified areas of Mambolo\samu and bum chiefdoms accordingly.
On his part, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Sam King Briama called on the stakeholders and the farmers to work with project team of the Regional Rice Value Chain Project to enhance project sustainability, noting that the project shifts in the ministry will help farmers across the country to avoid the delay in suppliers of fertilizers and other agricultural equipment.
He informed his gathering that the overall objective of the project is to contribute to reducing the high rice importation and enhance economic growth through improved production, processing, and marketing as well as enhancing private sector participation in the country.
“The $34.12million five project will be implemented in the two districts of Bonthe and Kambia and 7000 farmers will be targeted, 5000 in Tormabum (Bonthe) and 2000 in Mambolo/Samu chiefdoms of (Kambia) respectively. The project is designed for 5 participating countries in the West Africa sub region (Gambia, Guinea, Niger, Senegal and Sierra Leone) over a period of 5 years,” he noted.
Giving his Keynote address, the Minister of Political and Public Affairs, Ambassador Foday Yumkella commended the farmers and stakeholders for the renew hope to improve on farming in their respective districts, stating that the government has put mechanism in place to ensure that the agriculture is being mechanized. He described the inception workshop and the technical launch as historic one and a period farmer will redefine their farming to embrace good agriculture practices for increase productivity.
The Chairman of the Agricultural Committee in Parliament, honourable Sallieu .O Sesay reiterated that the past presidents have invested in so much in farming yet the country is still struggling to get it right, but the project will create opportunities for farmers to increase productivity and emphasized for the ministry of finance to increase the ministry of agriculture budget allocation to increase productivity for farmers.
One of the facilitators at the workshop, Dr. Patrick M. Kormawa reiterated that the drivers of a successful value chain require an independent project management, innovative approach, visible involvement of the private sector, government for value chain development and strategic public private partnership.
The Project Coordinator of the Regional Rice Value Chain project, Abdulai Bum Wai said the project will support smallholder farmers to be organized into productive entities to cultivate rice production to increase on their income, reduce poverty and food insecurity, as well as improve on the livelihood of rural population.
He noted that the project will contribute to an increase production of rice by 50 %, using the private sector value chain approach with support from other agricultural entities. Mr Bun Wai explained that the 7000 farmers will be supported with certified seeds rice and quality fertilizers including support to women and young people either by access to finance or off- takers.
The stakeholders and farmers present at the workshop assured the project team of their commitment to ensure that the objectives of the project are realized, and request for the government to make the machinery available early in the respective districts before the commencement of the planting season.
The meeting brought together the paramount chiefs, farmers, civil society organizations, community stakeholders, farm-based organizations, private sector and other partners in the agriculture sector to chat the way forward in the implementation of the Regional Rice Value Chain Project.