By Nelson Manneh
The Country Director of the Aspuna Group in The Gambia, Amadou Jah, has recently informed Foroyaa that their group has put Gambia on the global agro-processing map.
The first tuber processing factory was opened in The Gambia in 2017 with the aim of reducing unemployment rate, improving rural livelihood locally, increasing Africa’s food security and meeting international demand for gluten-free ingredients in The Gambia.
‘Aspuna’ Flour Company is established at Duwasu village in Kombo East District, West Coast Region. It has started processing cassava into flour. The company’s aim is to make sure that Gambian youth stay in their country and make a decent living.
Director Jah said the reason youth migrate is because they are not provided with job opportunities in their motherland. He said the products from his-led Company will be distinguishable through their sourcing and processing methods, saying they have made strong and fair partnerships with local small holder farmers and suppliers.
Jah said for a start, the Company can process 1000 kilograms of cassava into flour within one hour and those employed are people residing in and around the village.
“I want to discourage rural/ urban migration. I want people to stay in their various villages and be employed there,” he said.
In spite of the limitations and/or difficulties the deadly COVID-19 brought to humankind globally, Jah said they have managed to continue production in the Gambia, because they have all their subsidiaries in place, although at a reduced rate.
Fast forwarded, Mr. Jah said for three years now, wherever they partner and invest, creating youths grower schemes is always part and parcel of their business model. He said the benefits of being a member of their schemes include receiving training, superior yield stems and organic fertilizer.
Aspuna Company Country Director Jah said COVD-19 has been a challenge for Aspuna Group, but they have close collaboration with their subsidiaries. He said the group’s project development, commercial and engineering solutions were still managing to help rural farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa take significant strides.
In the Gambia, Jah said together with the Ministry of Agriculture, GIZ and Global Youths Innovation Network, they have trained six hundred and twenty-seven youth farmers and are currently processing two hundred and fifty members, exceeding their target of thirty percent growth.
Meanwhile, ‘Aspuna’ Flour Mill and Processing Factory opened in Duwasu Village in Kombo East District, West Coast Region, costs more than 20 million dalasi.