Petroleum Minister Tables US$1,340 Million Soil Fertility Management Loan Agreement

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By: Sariba Manneh

The Minister for Petroleum and Energy Abdoulie Jobe on Monday 6th March 2023, tabled the US$1,340 Million loan agreement for soil fertility management program for scrutiny and ratification.

The said loan aims to address the needs for soil fertility management program in the Gambia, with a view to developing farms and the project’s overall aim is to achieve long term increased crop yield, nutritional quality, and increased fertilizer investment among others.

Tabling the motion before the plenary, Minister Jobe told the law makers that the soil fertility project is meant for regional soil fertility program for the West African countries such as Guinea, Mali, Nigeria Senegal, Sierra Leone and The Gambia.

The project is an agricultural development initiative with the goal of addressing the needs for integrated soil fertility management program in the Gambia, and balance and evidence based fertilizer recommendation for particular crops under specific soil and agro-climate condition.

 The project’s overall aim is to achieve long term increase in crop yield, nutritional quality, increased return on fertilizer investment addressing to NDP’s  strategic plan 3 of modernizing the nation’s agriculture and fisheries for sustained economic growth food and nutritional security and poverty reduction, to increase basic agricultural commodities (crops and livestock) for enhanced food and nutrition security” he said.

He explicated to the assembly that the motion was meant for the assembly to react on the loan agreement between the Republic of The Gambia and Islamic Development Bank in full capacity and admiration of Islam Solidarity Fund for Soil Gravity in the Gambia.

He added that the motion aimed to invite the assembly to ratify the full agreement made by Islamic Development Bank under its own resources, the resources of the salvage solidarity fund for development the financing of the soil fertility for program West Africa.

He averred that to help the government of the Gambia achieve its stated NDP, the IsDB agrees to fund 75 percent of the total project activities costing approximately US$1 Million with ID 370,000 (US$500,000) being funds from the IsDB resources and the remainder US$500,000 from the ISFD resources..

He said “The total cost for the project is 1,340 million dollars of which the 75% is covered by IsDB loan and the remaining 25% (US$340,000) is to be financed by the government of the Gambia. The project shall be executed for the period of three years from the date of the first disbursement”.

The project objectives are mapping soil in major agricultural targeted areas, develop fertilizer and soil fertility management recommendations for farmers, fertilizer industry and other stakeholders

Strengthening the capacity of the national agricultural intuition to conduct sound soil fertility diagnosis and fertilizer recommendation among others.

The Motion was referred to the legislative select committee on agriculture for further scrutiny and report back its findings to the plenary.