Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Donor Community Key in Government’s Agricultural Improvement

“Finance Minister Admitted In His Budget Speech”

VOL:1 ISSN:29 In delivering the 2010 Budget to The Gambian people, the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Hon. Abdou Kolley indicated that the Government of The Gambia continues to collaborate closely with the donor community, private sector and Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), in order to improve agricultural productivity and national food security. .
He noted that agriculture continues to be the most important sector as it employs 70-80 percent of the population and generates over 60 percent of household incomes. “The sector performed reasonably well during the 2008/2009 cropping season with increase in area and production for most crops,” he said.
According to him, the total cereal production is estimated at 284,700 tons comprising 223,700 tons of coarse grain and 61,000 tons of paddy rice. The coarse grain cereal production is 10.5 percent above that of last year and 27.8 per cent above the last 5-years average.

Although animal feed has improved, he admitted that the most notable improvement is on rice production which has increased from 34,000 metric tons in the 2008/2009 cropping season to 64,500 metric tons in the 2009/2010 cropping season. He also said that groundnuts production is estimated to increase from 72,000 metric tons in 2007/2008 to 140,000 metric tons in 2009.
On the preparation for the 2009/2010 season, Kolley said that the agriculture sector was well-equipped with inputs and operational equipment and tools. “Over 130,000 bags of compound fertilizer and 100,000 sachets of seed treatment chemicals and herbicides for rice were made available in the country,” he said.
According to him, the expanded Rice Production Initiative with the Republic of China (Taiwan) successfully cultivated 7000 hectares with additional 8000 hectares expected to be under production in the second year of the product.

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