Bureng, Lower River Region, 27th November 2019 - His Excellency, President Barrow on Tuesday visited the rice fields and farm of a Gambian-owned agribusiness in SAPU, Central River Region that produces and packages rice made in The Gambia.

The president made a brief stop at Maruo Farms –The Gambia to learn more about their work, as part of activities in the ongoing President’s Meet the People tour. The farm is one of many in the region that are benefiting from bilateral agricultural assistance from the government of the People’s Republic of China.

Based on bilateral agreements between the Barrow government and its Chinese counterpart, the Chinese agricultural team provides expertise, technology, and equipment to Gambian farmers like Maruo-Farms to boost productivity and the drive for food self-sufficiency. Due to its collaboration with the Chinese agricultural team, Maruo Farms, which owns about 30 hectares, is expected to increase rice production by 20 per cent this season.

The project will help the country to localize crop varieties and agricultural talent and technology. Additionally, a number of agricultural personnel and farmers will undergo technical and managerial training both in The Gambia and beyond.

The President and team were shown practical demonstrations of the operations of high-tech Chinese farming equipment such as combined harvesters and tractors Visit to the National Seed Secretariat’s Seed Store.

The president also visited a seed store run by the National Seed Secretariat of the Ministry of Agriculture in Medina Nfally. The Seed Secretariat works with the seed growers association and other farmers to improve seed quality to meet international standards.

According to officials that led the president on the tour of the facility, all seeds distributed by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization to the farming community across the country this year purchased locally from farmers certified by the Secretariat to the tune of D30 million. That is a major departure from what was happening in the past, when seeds and seedling were bought from other countries in the sub-region. If the current trend of government support is sustained, the president was told, Gambian farmers can supply the whole country and beyond.