The Ministry of Agriculture on Tuesday through The Small Ruminant Production Enhancement Project (SRPEP) presided over the disbursement of D3.5 million dalasi loan to nine (9) Small Ruminant Farmers across the country.
The ceremony was held at Department of Livestock Service Hall in Abuko. The project is aimed at contributing to the improvement of the livelihood of pastoral communities in The Gambia by strengthening the productivity and resilience of rural communities and stimulating business entrepreneurship in the livestock sector.
The disbursement of the microfinance loan scheme was carried out by The Gambia Teachers Union Credit Co-operative Union (GTUCCU) and Supersonicz Micro Finance Limited on behalf of the Small Ruminants Production Enhancement Project (SRPEP).
At the event, Supersonicz Microfinance disbursed D1.4M to five (5) farmers, while GTUCCU disbursed a sum of D2.1M to four (4) farmers, making it a total of D3.5 million on behalf of Small ruminant production enhancement project.
At the presentation, Amie Fabureh, Minister of Agriculture, expressed delight to be associated with the event, saying all what ‘we need as a country to support our local farmers’ to be empowered and benefit from agriculture sector.
“This is first disbursement of the microfinance loan scheme being carried out by GTUCCU and Supersonicz Micro Financial limited under my ministry.”
She recalled that Small Ruminant Production Enhancement Project was launched in October 2019 and financed in two steps consisting of four major components, which are improvement of small ruminant production, processing and marketing; Access to Islamic Financing and support to capacity building; masterplan development for livestock value chains and project management and development.
She acknowledged that small ruminants are very important in any country’s development.
“We need to do things by ourselves rather than depending on other countries as millions are spent during Tobaski to purchase rams outside.
Mamud Njie, project Director of The Small Ruminant Production Enhancement Project (SRPEP), said supporting small ruminant is one of the major components of the project, as improvement of small ruminants is something that the farmers have long been yearning for.
“Based on procurement, the GTUCCU and Supersonicz Micro Finance are selected to lead the Micro Finance for the small ruminant farmers.”
He expressed optimism that with the knowledge and experience they have, they can help the Ministry in making the project a reality.
Dawda Kujabi, deputy General Manager of GTUCCU, thanked the Ministry for the trust and confidence reposed in them, saying when they were contacted about the project they immediately put their house together to take the challenge to ensure that what is needed is done for its successful implementation.
The partnership, he added, has been a long journey but thank God that they are here today doing the first disbursement.
“GTUCCU have eight branches in the country so this funds can be accessible to anyone, as accessibility is one of the major intervention of credit unions.”
He thus urged farmers to apply for the loan to help the country, to get access to affordable rams during mega events like Tobaski and other events.
Momodou Lamin Jobe, head of Operations at Supersonicz, assured that his institution would make sure that the project is a successful one.
“We will ensure that the right beneficiaries are given the opportunity and all region will be considered both male and female and youths as well to reduce the backway journey.”
Ebrima Jallow, on behalf of the beneficiaries, thanked the Ministry of Agriculture for considering the plight of farmers in the country.