Holistic Agribusiness Solution Agricultural Training Centre of Balingho in Upper Badibou, on Saturday, 14th October 2023 held its third graduation ceremony where 24 youths who have completed two years of intensive integrated agriculture were graduated.
The Centre was established by the Sabab Lou Foundation, Germany in 2019 and since then witnessed the graduation of youths of various disciplines in agriculture.
Momodou Y Bah, Chief Executive Officer of Rural Development Organisation and Holistic Agribusiness Solution said the donors and management are committed to transferring appropriate skills and knowledge to enhance food production and productivity.
In a brief background of the center, he said the Rural Development Organisation (RDO) was established 11 years ago by the Sabab Lou Foundation to reduce poverty through sustainable agricultural production.
he noted that RDO benefitted communities in terms of infrastructure such as solar-powered, water systems to irrigate several hectares for year-round vegetable production, as well as portable water for domestic use.
RDO and Sabab Lou Foundation, he continued, established the Holistic Agribusiness Solution Training Centre by shifting its attention to youth capacity development.
He noted that the graduated 24 youths including 15 boys and 9 girls covered several agricultural areas as well as business modules.
The training focused on horticulture, poultry production, small and large ruminant production, food processing, basic book and accounting, sales and marketing, and data bank among others. The dream of the center is to train 40 agripreneursannually.
The graduates are expected to create jobs and reduce the burden of unemployment.
However, the 24 graduates will receive performance-based savings from sales of 15% and inculcate a culture of savings.
Addressing the graduates, Governor Lamin Saidykhanthanked the government of Germany through its ambassador for complementing the Gambia government’s efforts in youth empowerment to promote sustainable agriculture.
Governor Saidykhan congratulated the graduates while noting that education without morality, discipline, and passion, cannot yield to the attainment of self-actualization of becoming a successful person in society.
Again, he thanked the donors, management, and staff for their commitment to youth empowerment while he reiterated that under the dynamic leadership of President Adama Barrow, there is full commitment to respect the rule of law and human rights while challenging the youths to be innovative.
The Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Bah said they will continue to take the lead in transferring appropriate skills, and cutting-edge agricultural practices, saying empowering youths will contribute to moving the economy of the country forward.
He disclosed that the student’s curriculum is internationally recognised and cherished, “as our expertise is exported to Southern Tanzania as one of the trainers helped to set up a similar program. And similar exchange programs are underway with other African countries, where our trainers will be sent to those countries.”
Dilating on financial independence for sustainability, several tons of vegetables and poultry products are harvested and sold at the market. The Aquaculture project is still at its nascent stage and serves as a training component viz a viz income generating activity.
The Chief Executive Officer thanked the Sabab Lou Foundation for funding the infrastructure and operational cost deficits and also thanked the German government for funding most of the building and Lufthansa Help Alliance for funding as well as the support for the training. In addition, the Australian Airline for sending expert trainers on Business Modules.
He thanked the community of Balingho for providing land and the government for creating an enabling environment for NGOs to operate and accelerate national development.
Dr. Fredrick Keller Bauer, Founder and Chairman of the Sabab Lou Foundation of Germany described the establishment of the center as crucial in complementing government efforts in facilitating skills development in agriculture.
He disclosed that the foundation already has a branch in Tanzania and Burundi to support the youth empowerment drive.
German Ambassador to the Gambia H.E. Klaus Botzet said the support will contribute to boosting local food production through the adoption of agronomic practices.
He congratulated the graduates for their commitment to the completion of two years of intensive training, while he used the moment to call for the involvement of the government and private sector to support the ongoing skills transfer to increase production and productivity.
Yaya Jammeh, the alkalo of Balingho thanked the center for its commitment to youth empowerment while reassuring them of the community support.
Abdlie Bah, one of the graduated students expressed joy over the completion of the training and lauded their lecturers’ efforts on the students.
Certificates and awards were presented to graduates the graduation ceremony was graced by the Governor of NBR, LRR, Community leaders, Administrators of Rural Development Institute, USET in Mansa Konko, Songhai Centre in Chamen, and 4H Gambia, a local NGO among others