Wednesday, June 7

Agric. minister tours projects in CRR

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The minister was accompanied by a team from the Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Agriculture, the Rice Value Chain Transformation Project (RVCTP) team, and a team from the Central Project Coordinating Unit (CPCU).

Hon. Dr. Sabally in his statement acknowledged the efforts of the farmers, stating that farmers are the reason why the Ministry took up the mission.

The minister also acknowledged the efforts of Musa Darboe, CEO of Maruo Farms Limited for his tireless contribution to the development of the farming sector. The Minister told the farmers that the Government has heard the cries of the farmers regarding the inadequacy of tractors as well as the levelling of the fields.

He disclosed that most of the farmers expressed serious constraints with respect to this, resulting in his traveling to Turkey with the Director General of Agriculture for the purpose of addressing the situation of tractors amongst other salient issues.

“They have also raised concern about the water canals in the rice fields because the canals are not concreted which is why it is being dug every year and this needs a permanent solution.”

Dr. Sabally unveiled that part of the problems in the rice fields also includes the inability to control the water gates, making it difficult to control the outflow and inflow of water in the rice fields.

The Minister also suggested that the solution to all these problems is to develop a master plan as mentioned by the RVCTP Project Director.

All the rice fields should be surveyed, he said, adding that primary and secondary canals should be concreted while tertiary canals should be dug by the farmers themselves in their rice fields.

He also advised the farmers not to throw the rice straw into the canals to avoid blockages in the canals.

The Agric. Minister mentioned that President Barrow was highly concerned, saying it’s something that also this journey in the month of Ramadan.

“The problems of the rice fields have been known and when we get to the Ministry, we will all come together to have a solution to the problem in which the budget will be handed over to the National Assembly Members (NAMS) for approval,” he stated.

Musa Darboe, CEO of Maruo Farms Limited, observed that it’s because of either insufficient water in the rice field or the overflow of water in the rice fields that most tractors have………

He also stressed that the lands are not leveled which also results in the breakdowns of tractors.

Mr. Darboe also dilated on the reason that makes tractors insufficient at some point; saying all the farmers start plowing their farms at the same time.

Maimuna Conteh, farmer Kerewan, Samba Sirreh, explained the situation of the rice field while pleading for immediate action to be taken so that they could actively engage in farming to support their families.