Minister’s Team Visits Jahally Pacharr: Advancing Rice Self-Sufficiency

The Minister’s team, including the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Director General of the Department of Agriculture, the ROOTS Project Director, and ROOTS staff, continued their field visit on Day 2. Their focus was on Jahally Pacharr in CRRS, which benefits from the subsidized Input Support Program for rice.

Jahally Pacharr’s Continued Support and Infrastructure Development

For the second consecutive year, Jahally Pacharr received support for both dry and rainy seasons. This dry season, they were provided with seeds, fertilizer, and ploughing services for 500.25 hectares in Jahally and 500 hectares in Pacharr. Currently, the project is engaged in extensive work at Jahally Pacharr. Feasibility studies and detailed designs for irrigation infrastructure improvements are in progress, targeting 500 hectares in clusters 4, 5, 6, and 7, and an additional 105 hectares in Pacharr.

Crisis Response Initiative Enhancements

The ROOTS project is also making significant strides through the Crisis Response Initiative (CRI). They have completed an assessment of flap gates and culverts within the Jahally perimeters and have awarded a contract for their upgrade and replacement. Additionally, 2,500 liters of fuel have been provided for supplementary irrigation and drainage, alongside funds for ploughing services at D750.00 per hectare. The provision of ASI threshers to mitigate post-harvest losses is ongoing.

Community Response and Government Commitment

Farmers expressed their gratitude for the support from ROOTS. The Permanent Secretary commended the community for fulfilling their counterpart funding obligations. He addressed the highlighted challenges, assuring the farmers that the ROOTS Project already has plans to tackle most of them. He reiterated the government’s commitment to achieving self-sufficiency in rice by 2030, though he expressed a desire to meet this goal even sooner.

Notable Visit Attendees

The visit was honored by the presence of the Regional Governor for Central River Region, Honourable Musa Mbye, and the National Assembly member for the area, Honourable Gibbi Mballow. Both officials thanked ROOTS for their support and appealed for additional assistance, particularly in capacity building for farmers and improving access roads to the rice fields.

Showcasing Successful Farming Ventures

The team visited various supported fields, including the Maruo Farm fields and Burong Wolal’s rice field. Burong Wolal is owned by Kalifa Jammeh, a 31-year-old youth rice farmer who returned to The Gambia after 12 years in the Netherlands. Kalifa is dedicated to rice production, processing, and marketing. He aims to inspire other youths to engage in agriculture, create knowledge hubs, and promote the use of technology in farming.

Conclusion of the Visit

The visit concluded at the Maruo Farm headquarters, leaving a positive impression on the Minister’s team and the community. The efforts of the ROOTS Project and the dedication of local farmers like Kalifa Jammeh underscore a promising future for agricultural development and self-sufficiency in The Gambia.

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