By Makutu Manneh
The Department of Agriculture through the Agribusiness Service Unit, has validated Gambia’s first national fertilizer policy yesterday Tuesday, 10th August 2023. The validation enables the country to enhance its policy environment and to allow agricultural and fertilizer private sector development.
To achieve this goal, the Gambia has earlier published the ECOWAS fertilizer regulation which relates to quality control of fertilizer in the National Gazette in October 2016.
Musa Houmma, Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture said the fertiliser policy will help farmers to know how to use this important farm input, when to use it and the quantity to use. He said these are the three major issues farmers are faced with and it is what the policy will help them understand.
“These are very important things this policy is going to help us understand,” he said. He urged participants from different departments taking part in the validation of the draft policy, to give the document maximum criticism for a better one.
Dr. Mustapha Ceesay, FAO Assistant Representative for Programmes, said the agriculture sector in Africa including The Gambia, continues to be characterized by low fertilizer use resulting in low crop yields. He said fertilizer usage must increase in Africa if the region is to meet its agricultural growth targets and poverty reduction goals, as well as environmental sustainability objectives.
“The National Fertilizer Policy that we are validating here today, was developed by the Government of The Gambia to support the transition to a well inform fertilizer sector that is competitive and has the potential to trigger economic growth through sustainable availability, access, marketing, distribution and efficient use of fertilizer,” he said.