Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Gambia: Entrepreneurship training is crucial to fight poverty

PS Cole giving his speech

Mr. Asheme Cole, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture has emphasized on the importance of entrepreneurship training saying that entrepreneurship training is very crucial if The Gambia as a nation want to fight the ills of poverty, through increase food production along the entire food value chains citing rice and vegetable.

Cole was addressing 60 participants-MDFT’s at the Jenoi Agricultural Training Centre in Lower River Region organised by the National Agricultural Land and Water Management Development Project best known as Nema  and is been conducted by Concern Universal-Gambia who won a bid to implement the training.

Reminding participants the objective of the training, Cole said that is to bring together 60 MDFT members across the length and breadth of the country to reflect upon the important role that business development can play in enhancing smallholder farmers’ and producers entrepreneurship skills to enable them (smallholder farmers’) integrate themselves into the value chain.

PS Cole stated that The Gambia government has seen IFAD’s intervention and support in the country as ‘timely’ noting that Nema project seeks to build on the achievements of IFAD’s previous projects-LADP and PIWAMP with an added important component: Agricultural Commercialization; which seeks to graduate subsistence farming to commercialization-producing more that what we eat, to sell for profit.

“Entrepreneurship training takes at least a minimum of three years at college or universities-sometimes up to five years if you’re doing an MBA (Master in Business) and cost on average of D500, 000, depending which institution you attend.”

“You are therefore, lucky to be getting this training free and whilst you are trained to train others, some of you will use these knowledge and skills to become successful entrepreneurs in your own right. So use it wisely and because you are experienced and most of you may have been trained on this subject before, the four days would suffice to understand the basic principles.”

In addition, PS disclosed that the entrepreneurship training will however focus on how to effectively provide enterprise development assistance.

He therefore, implored on participants to sieze the opportunity to make good use of the training, while extending positive reception to Concern Universal-Gambia saying “as government cannot do it all alone, we welcome and encourage partnerships with NGO’s and the private sector to complimenting Government’s efforts in national development.”

“I wish to thank IFAD for the continuous support that they provide to The Gambia and can assure them (IFAD) that this training amongst all the other activities of the project will see a sustainable future in Agricultural development and growth in this country,” he admitted.

The development of viable new business, especially in transactional economic, he explained is very critical to recovery and long term growth.

Yet, in many economic the enterprise sector-especially SME’s is faced with macroeconomic constraints, numerous regulatory and institutional hurdles and operational bottlenecks. Enterprise support intervention, PS 
Cole noted try to address these challenges pointing out that the menu interventions ranges from microeconomic management through institutional and regulatory change, to firm-level finance, technical and management assistance.

The government of The Gambia, with the support of funding agencies has used many types of interventions over the years, including enterprise-level support in rural and urban areas and at Micro and SME scale.

In summing up his words, PS Cole said that the effectiveness of such interventions cannot be separated from the broader policy and the broader policy cannot be successful without enterprise-level interventions.

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