Agric. Minister Admits Units Confronted with Human Resource, Financing Challenges

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By: Kebba AF Touray

Agriculture Minister Sabally has admitted that the ministry’s units are faced with human resource and financing challenges in the execution of their work.

The departments include Agricultural Engineering, Soil, Water Management and Plant Protection Service Units.

Minister Sabally made this admission yesterday while responding to a question put to him by the Member for Tumana constituency, Hon. Nfally Kora, who asked the Minister to state the current status of the said units in respect to their respective challenges and their strategic importance within the Agriculture Ministry.

Minister Sabally stated that the units are integral to the Department of Agriculture under the Ministry, and that they are aware of the significant roles they play in the drive to attain resilience and sustainable food security systems. However, he said that they are faced with challenges, not limited to financing, limited human resource, less optimal labs, inadequate mobility and staff attrition to other institutions. He said to remedy the aforementioned situation, the department has increased its manpower budget to cater for lower staff members, and that the units have forged an MoU with UN bodies for human capacity development and institutional building. He said no new project will be allowed to parallel to these units, because every implementation will be through these units. He added that last month, the GIRAV Project distributed seven pick-ups to its implementing partners and some of the entities that benefited, included these units.

Asked about the Ministry’s plans to revitalize cooperative societies across the country, Minister Sabally said these societies had positive impact during the First Republic and they still have the potential to ease government’s heavy spending on agriculture which does not yield the desired results.

Minister Sabally replied that the revitalization of cooperative societies countrywide in view of their impact in the sector, has been part of their priorities. He said government through a cabinet task force, approved the establishment of the Directorate of Cooperatives which began operation in January 2023. He reported that on February 29, 2024, cabinet approved the proposed organogram of the operationalisation of this new important department, which will regulate and coordinate all cooperatives including agricultural, marketing, artisanal, food, health, housing insurance, manufacturing, technology and utility cooperatives.