The President of The Republic of The Gambia, His Excellency Adama Barrow on Monday, 28th November 2022 laid the Foundation Stone for the USET Agribusiness Training Centre in Kerewan Mandinka, Central River Region of The Gambia. MRC Holland Foundation is supporting The Gambia Government in constructing this training centre.
In his statement, President Adama Barrow highlighted that his Government puts great effort and emphasis on TVET Education. Thus, he is optimistic that the USET Agribusiness Training Centre will provide learning opportunities for the youth of the country, which in turn will be of benefit to their communities and the country, at large. The President also lauded the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology under the active leadership of Professor Pierre Gomez, for coming up with this significant project and the MRC Holland Foundation, for supporting the construction phase.
During the Foundation Stone Laying, the Minister of Higher Education, Professor Pierre Gomez underlined the importance of this Agribusiness training centre in producing engineers and technicians who will take charge of the developmental imperatives of the country. Hon. Gomez informed that the Ministry’s strategic plan is to decentralise Technical and Vocational Education and Training to every region of the country. Prof Gomez added that for the first time in The Gambia, students from these Skills Training Centres can transition to the University of Applied Science Engineering and Technology (USET) upon completion of their training with the right qualifications. This, he said, gives them a ladder to pursue higher education in their areas of study. Hon. Gomez thanked the community of Kerewan Mandinka for their support to the USET Agribusiness Training Centre Project.
Furthermore, Henrietta Sonko, Founder of MRC Holland Foundation assured the President of The Republic of The Gambia and MoHERST that her team will do its best in constructing a standard Agribusiness Training Centre where young people will learn skills that will benefit them and The Gambia.
Upon completion of the construction phase, the Centre will offer the following trade programmes;
- Small and large ruminants,
- Field crops,
- Agric machinery,
- Agri-business and value addition (innovation and incubation) and
- Animal health and welfare
The Centre will also have research and development, as well as commercialization as key components.
The impact of climate change and natural disasters like floods and droughts in The Gambia has contributed in classifying the country as a “Fragile State”. The country's economy is significantly dependent on agriculture, and the sector has been subject to insufficient rainfall and other hazards with their consequences for food security and economic growth.
The Gambia remains fundamentally an agriculture-based economy despite the large share of the service sector in the GDP. Notably, agriculture is the biggest employer, (about 70% of the labour force), of the economy, especially for the youth and women, and it offers substantial untapped potential for growth. Skills training is a major catalyst to elevate The Gambia’s economic growth. Thus, the establishment of this USET Agribusiness Training Centre sits well with the transformation agenda of MoHERST in improving the tertiary and higher education system to adequately serve the agricultural sector of the country.