The consignment was received at a brief ceremony at the Kerr Ayib Border in North Bank Region.
The MoA procured the fertilizer with a USD10 million grant from the Word Bank through the Gambia Inclusive and Resilient Agricultural Value Chain Development Project (GIRAV). The assorted consignment comprises 5 metric tons of NPK: 15.15.15, 5 metric tons of NPK: 10.20.10, and 5 metric tons of Urea: 00-46-00 packaged in 50 kilogramme bags. The consignment is said to be sourced from OCP Africa Morocco.
According to GIRAV officials, 10, 000 metric tons will be delivered by land using the Kerr Ayib and Ambadali border crossings whilst the remaining 5, 000 metric tons will arrive by sea.
GIRAV is a USD40-million five-year project funded by the World Bank through a grant. It is being executed by the MoA and implemented by CPCU and 18 implementing partners across The Gambia targeting five priority value chains, which include rice, maize, mango (horticulture), cashew, and poultry.
Representing the Minister of Agriculture at the official reception of the fertilizer consignment, Fatou Jammeh-Touray, Deputy Permanent Secretary responsible for Projects and Programmes at MOA, conveyed government’s gratitude to the World Bank and the OCP Africa for making the initiative a success story.
She said: “In the drive to make our agricultural system more productive, more resilient and sustainable, the government requested for assistance from the World Bank to establish a Fertilizer programme under the GIRAV project. The Bank responded positively and my ministry through the GIRAV project under the CPCU procured the assorted fertilizer,” Mrs Jammeh said.
“This convoy of trucks is here to deliver the first consignment of the assorted fertilizer which comprises 5 Metric Tons of NPK: 15:15:15, 5 Metric Tons of NPK: 10:20:10 and 5 Metric Tons of Urea: 00-46-00.
“To ensure sustainability and timely availability of fertilizer in the country, the proceeds realised from the sales will be deposited into a special account at The Central Bank of The Gambia to serve as fertilizer Revolving Fund. This will help to address the perennial problem of lack of fertilizer for our smallholder farmers.”
DPS Jammeh said further that the CPCU is working diligently with the National Food Security, Processing and Marketing Corporation (NFSPMC), and the Department of Agriculture and its decentralised structures to facilitate easy access of the fertilizer to smallholder farmers.
She also stated that the MOA was working closely with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs to fix the price of the fertilizer at subsidised cost, adding that the price per 50kg bag would be announced in due course.
After thanking the World Bank for its remarkable support to The Gambia especially in the agricultural sector, Mrs Jammeh reaffirmed the stakeholders’ commitment to ensuring successful implementation of the fertilizer programme.
CPCU and GIRAV project coordinator Abdoulie Touray said the programme is significant to ensuring national food security, nutrition, poverty reduction, economic growth and shared prosperity leaving no one behind.
“The soil’s fertility is severely degraded thus there is high demand for chemical fertilizer to improve its fertility so that crop production and productivity is realized,” he noted.
Representing the Regional Governor, Dembo Samateh, Deputy Governor for NBR, said the fertilizer programme would contribute immensely to increasing crops production and productivity.
“This fertilizer has been brought solely and only for the farmers and not for business people,” he warned.
Mohamed Benzekri, Vice President of OCP Africa-Senegal, expressed delight in working with the Gambia Government and the World Bank to deliver to The Gambia.
He assured that his company would continue to work with The Gambia to boost the country’s crop production and productivity.
Ansumana Kinteh, Police Commissioner for NBR, said the security personnel in the region would work accordingly to ensure the fertilizer reaches its destination safely.
He also reiterated their commitment to ensuring effective monitoring of the fertilizer to prevent leakage of it across the border.