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The Untold Story OF Youths In Berending Championing Agricultural Production

the untold story of youths in berending championing agricultural production

Like most budding associations in The Gambia, especially that receives less or no support, the challenges they grapple with are usually many. Financial constraints always top the list. BEYAA could not accomplish some of its targeted plans due to lack of funds, Bah told Foroyaa. But despite the unintended constraint,

Bah said they succeeded in keeping the association to be alive and kicking, up and running since 2013. They are now expanding their tentacles- a move Lie Bah said cannot be accomplished without sufficient funds. Having a land is momentous to their mission and they are happy to have one. However, part of their investment areas is poultry production; agroforestry and animal husbandry which need help. Lie Bah told Foroyaa that their association does not have readily available members who have the necessary technical-know-how in some of the abovementioned areas they want to invest in. "We need both technical and financial support from both the Government and non-governmental organizations," he pleaded. Success Story! Being alive for over 7 years brought success stories too. Bah said their farm yields are sold at lower prices to the members of their community and have facilitated agricultural training opportunities for the members of their association in different areas of specialization. "As I am speaking to you, two members of the association are undergoing training at Shanghai Agricultural Training Institution," he said. The Shanghai Agricultural Training Institution is situated in Chamen. At the inception, the association had 11 members. Seven years on, they are at least 60, according to their Farm Manager, Modou Jallow. Jallow added that three (3) of their members are attending the Shanghai Agricultural Training Institution. And this year, they were able to cultivate 1.5 hectares of maize farm. Sadly, BEYAA is yet to receive any form of support from the central government. Why Agricultural Apathy Among Youths? Bah believed that the reason for youth apathy in agricultural productivity in The Gambia is based on twofold. He said the lack of motivation and incentives from the government is one of the reasons. He further said the widespread misconception within and among the youths that one cannot alleviate oneself from poverty through agriculture is another reason. He said they assume that agriculture is meant for the poor. "We strongly believe that agriculture contributes immensely in our GDP {Gross Domestic Product} and The Gambia cannot develop in the absence of agriculture, as many say it, it's the backbone of our economy. We the members of Berending Youths and Agricultural Association believe that agriculture is the easiest way to become rich in The Gambia," he said. Bah proposed that the government needs to reorient the youths in various areas of agriculture and provide advice for them to invest in lucrative areas of the sector. "Our association wants to be the leading and exemplary association in both the community and country in diversifying agriculture, that's y we're different," he added. Farm Manager Jallow, like Lie Bah, believed that the government has not done enough to entice the youths to engage into agricultural productivity. "The farming system does not encourage youths to engage in agriculture as a career. And the government did not provide necessary incentives that encourage the youths to engage in agriculture and live in better life" he said. He added: "There is lack of motivation from the Government to encourage youths to take part in Agriculture."