By Olimatou Coker
Youth Empowerment Project, YEP, on Monday delivered an agro-processing equipment valued at D26,000,000 to 14 beneficiary companies to enhance productivity and value addition, particularly at farm-gate.
Funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa and implemented by the International Trade Centre, YEP addresses the economic root causes of irregular migration by supporting youth employment and entrepreneurship.
The equipment includes groundnut paste making machines, groundnut powder making machines, groundnut roasting machines, candy rolling machines tables (candy made from groundnut and cashew), flour milling machines, rice grader and destoners, dehulling machines for cereals including findi, vacuum packaging machines as well as a number of 62 KVA back-up diesel generators.
According to YEP project manager, Raimund Moser, once the equipment are installed and fully operational, the investment is projected to create over 900 jobs in total; 644 direct jobs and 300 indirect jobs, for young Gambians.
Moser added that the 14 beneficiaries include three groups and associations and 11 small and medium size enterprises spread across the Greater Banjul Area, West Coast, North Bank Region and Central River regions.
He said the beneficiaries signed a memoranda of understanding with the implementation body, ITC, aimed at supporting job creation efforts within the areas the machines will be located.
Bintou Jaiteh, a beneficiary thanked the government for creating an enabling environment for both the donors and the citizens.
She also thanked the European Union through Youth Empowerment Project for providing a good, conducive atmosphere for SMEs in agro-business.