The Chairman of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Abdelmuhsin Al-Sudeary completed a three-day fact-finding tour of the Gambia on Saturday (12 May).
GV PAN Crops growing in fields on farm
SV PAN Chairman of IFAD, Mr. Al-Sudeary (moustached and walking next to man with white hat) being escorted by Gambian agricultural officials around farm (2 shots)
CU Mr. Al-Sudeary inspecting crops while women and children watch (2 shots)
GV PAN EXTERIOR Central Bank of The Gambia
CU PAN Mr. Al-Sudeary and other officials enter bank
SV PAN INTERIOR & CU Mr. Al-Sudeary seated at table with officials of the Central Bank (3 shots)
GV EXTERIOR Bank
LV Mr. Al-Sudeary boards boat to tour proposed dam site
CU Boat's name
GV & SV Mr. Al-Sudeary and officials looking at proposed dam site on Gambia River (3 shots)
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Background: The Chairman of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Abdelmuhsin Al-Sudeary completed a three-day fact-finding tour of the Gambia on Saturday (12 May). The tiny West African state is one of many countries Mr. Al-Sudeary is visiting before deciding how to allocate the 100 million U.S. dollars which IFAD had earmarked for projects in the Sahel countries.
SYNOPSIS: The Gambia has laid great emphasis on self-sufficiency in food crops to save large amounts of foreign exchange previously spent on rice imports. Gambian agricultural officials showed the IFAD Chairman round one of the farms which has pushed the country's rice production above fifty thousand tons a year. The drive for self-sufficiency in rice was given added momentum when former swamplands were opened up for cultivation. Rice production in upland areas has also increased dramatically.
At the Central Gambian Bank in the capital of Banjul, Mr. Al-Sudeary met officials from the Ministries of Agriculture and Economic Planning. Mr. Al-Sudeary has praised The Gambia for its impressive record in diversifying its agricultural sector to reduce reliance on the groundnut. Since IFAD's establishment in 1976, he has taken a keen interest in the problems of the Sahel region. The talks were primarily aimed at increasing the productivity of small farmers through the introduction of appropriate technology. The meeting also discussed the importance of training to provide qualified manpower to exploit the technology.
The IFAD chairman went on to tour one of the country's major development scheme likely to qualify for Fund aid. The River Gambia has always been crucial to the country's economy. At Yellitenda a United Nations team has recommended the construction of a dam to produce hydro-electric power and improve irrigation. West Germany has already pledged aid for the project. The Gambian government hopes that Mr. Al-Sudeary's visit will also secure financial support from IFAD.