Saturday, December 9, 2023

Poverty alleviation: Young gardener employs 11, set sights on reducing poverty

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By: Alieu Jallow

Mathieu Gomez, a young entrepreneur from Foni Katakorr, who has created a garden in Foni Jakoi Binta where he grows various types of fruits and vegetables and employs over 11 individuals, said his goal is not only to make a profit but also to empower the community by reducing poverty and decreasing the high unemployment rate that the country is experiencing.

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The Gambian economy relies heavily on agriculture, but the sector faces challenges such as inadequate marketing infrastructure, limited access to credit for youth and women, and insufficient resources.

As a young engineer, Mathieu has developed a strong interest in agricultural farming and currently employs eleven people. His garden provides a source of income for these individuals.

He expressed that having only one source of water supply in the garden is a challenge as it cannot sustain the garden’s demand, and he is asking for support to expand his production and employ more people.

“I am seeking help for water. I will really be happy about [having another source of water] because we want to do a lot. I want to transform this place to bring changes in the Gambia to support the nation’s food sufficiency drive”.

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Lalia Bayai, one of the employees at Mathieus’ Garden, said her living standard has improved and that she has been able to do a lot for her family.

“I support my family from the earnings I gain here as I am fully able to foot my children’s breakfast and school lunch and pay their other school expenses,” Bayai said.

Mattoo Tamba, another employee at the garden, emphasised that working in the garden has massively improved her life as she can cater for children’s needs, saying “whatever I earn from the garden goes into my children’s welfare both on feeding and school”.

Despite the primary role of the agriculture sector in the economy, the lack of access to credit, and many other productive resources necessary for agriculture continues to be a challenge for most agribusiness entrepreneurs thus the drive for food self-sufficiency will be far-fetched.

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Despite the significant role the agricultural sector plays in the Gambian economy, agribusiness entrepreneurs continue to face significant challenges, making food self-sufficiency a far-fetched dream to this day.

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