At solely 24 years of age, Alhadgie Faal has constructed a profitable small enterprise, by turning household land in Kanuma, which is in Gambia’s North Financial institution area, into a large plot, the place he grows fruit and greens to promote to eating places and lodges.
“Earlier than I began this enterprise, I used to be a carpenter, however agriculture was at all times my ardour. With out agriculture we are able to’t feed the nation, and I had a dream to provide The Gambia with wholesome produce.
About 4 years in the past, my stepfather informed me that free UN coaching in agriculture, horticulture, and meals processing was out there. He utilized for me, and I used to be accepted.
Planting the seeds of a enterprise
I used to be actually pleased, as a result of we’re a farming household with little cash, and I’d not have been capable of afford charges and transport. However all of those bills had been included within the provide, so I used to be capable of go to the faculty.
The coaching was extraordinarily helpful. We discovered about agronomics, how you can handle crops, when to plant, and how you can choose the appropriate website.
As soon as I graduated, I received the thought to start out my very own fruit and vegetable enterprise. My stepmother owned some land, and she or he allowed me and my brother to make use of it. The land was all bush again then, so my brother and I cleared it to create a backyard.
At first, I confronted many challenges. Any time we planted or sowed seeds, rodents would come and destroy all the things. We additionally had to deal with termites, pests, and ailments.
Finally we overcame these issues. At present, we shield the crops with netting to guard them from rodents, and we cowl them with plastic for 3 to 4 days to generate warmth, which suppresses the termites.
From peppers to papayas
We develop many various crops right here. We’ve got inexperienced bell peppers, sizzling yellow peppers, papayas, and strawberries.
We’ve got been profitable in promoting our fruit within the Banjul area. We’re supplying eating places, lodges, and a few non-public individuals.
Many individuals like our produce as a result of it’s very tasty. Our strawberries are massive and candy, and all of our fruit and greens are natural. That is important, as a result of chemical compounds are usually not good for human well being or the setting.
Beginning an agriculture enterprise in The Gambia could be very onerous. It’s a must to be affected person, otherwise you gained’t succeed. Transport is an issue, and growth could be very sophisticated, as a result of it’s onerous to get entry to grants and loans. Funding is an enormous concern, particularly for younger farmers.
My recommendation for anybody who desires to be an entrepreneur is to give attention to agriculture, in order that we are able to keep away from importing from our neighbouring international locations. We’ve got the land, and we are able to get water from the river. We’ve got all the things we have to survive.
I would love Gambians to eat Gambian strawberries. Individuals have the misperception that we don’t develop the fruit right here, and that’s what motivates me to succeed.”