Agreement Signed to Support Poultry Production

GAMBIA - EM Holding, the parent company of EMPAS, a company engaged in the business of industrializing poultry farming in The Gambia, on Wednesday (12 February), commissioned a soft launch of a-state-of-the-art world class poultry hatchery, which also witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between EM Holdings and Reliance Financial Services.
calendar icon 24 February 2014
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According to Daily Observer, the new MoU will avail the two companies the opportunity to work together in providing finance to the out-growers in the poultry farming valued chain at their Farato farm.

Baboucarr Khan, the managing director of Reliance Financial Services signed the document on behalf of his company, while Edrissa Mass Jobe, the executive chairman of EM Holdings Company, appended his signature on behalf of the EM Holdings Company.

The EM Holdings chairman, in his welcoming remarks, underscored the importance of the occasion, which was to mark the soft launching of Farato Hatchery Farms and the signing of the MoU with Reliance. Explaining the business structure of the Farms to the audience he said the initiative encompasses key processes involved in the valued chain of the poultry sub-sector.

Mr Jobe noted that the parenting of the eggs to the transformational processes, the hatching of the eggs to chicks, are done using the latest state of the art technology. He further disclosed that the total cost of the investment amounts to over US$4 million; adding that for the first time Gambians will no longer need to import chicks from abroad as inputs for their poultry businesses along with the feed which are now being processed locally at a sister Farm.

The EM Holding chairman lauded Reliance Financial Services for their timely response in addressing one of the biggest challenges faced by poultry out-growers that is access to affordable finance and more importantly their capacity to structure a financing scheme along the value chain of the poultry sub-sector, devoid of all the bureaucracies and endless paperwork that one experiences with the conventional banks.

He also used the opportunity to thanked the Gambian leader, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya Jammeh and his entire government for his visionary leadership particularly in agriculture, citing his "Back to the Land Call" and examplary leadership.

While extending gratitude to First International Bank (FIB) and the Gambia Growth and Competitiveness Project (GGCP) for their support in financing the initial phase and provision of technical assistance in the form of capacity building for the out-growers, Mr Jobe stated that the hatchery was the first phase within the multi-faceted investments at the Farm. He then cited the processing plant which is at an advanced stage to complete the jigsaw, adding that the plant will require over one million euros investment.

Mr Jobe urged the Reliance Financial Services to replicate this financing model across all the key sectors of the country’s economy. He concluded by highlighting their resolve to venture into other sub-sectors in Agriculture such as horticulture, cash crop framing and animal husbandry as well as the fisheries sub-sector.

For his part, Pa Ousman Njie, the general manager Corporate and Institutional Banking at the FI Bank, said his bank is proud to be associated with the soft launching of what he called a laudable investment, adding that since day one, FI Bank, has been a very important partner in this venture.

He explained that FIB started financing the investment in the hatchery and is happy to see the significant progress made in the Project thus far. "Today, we are proud to see the benefits of partnering with EM Holdings for the achievement of this magnificent edifice the first of its kind in The Gambia," he remarked.

Also speaking at the end of a guided tour of the facility, Tamsir Manga, the Project Coordinator at The Gambia Growth and Competitiveness Project expressed satisfaction with the support they provided to EMPAS in developing the out-growers scheme, which he described as successful.

He thus thanked Reliance for complementing their efforts by signing the MoU so as to provide access to finance to the out-growers and called on other financial institutions in the country to emulate the Reliance Financial Services in supporting all the productive sectors of the country’s economy.

The event was crowned with the signing of the MoU between the two companies. At the signing ceremony, it was underscored that the main objective of the partnership is to provide the critical inputs to out-growers comprising local Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) operating in the poultry farming value chain in optimal quantities required by the out-growers to carry out a viable agri-business.

The partnership will also ensure easy access to finance, entrepreneurship skills development, technical capacity building, market linkages, and infrastructure development with the overarching aim of employment creation and poverty eradication.

Mr Khan, the managing director of Reliance explained in detail the new financial and business models that Bankers in Africa and The Gambia in particular should embrace in order to deliver high impact results on society at large. He noted that it is uncommon to see Bankers in their suits visiting Farms, but added that this is what Reliance actually stands for and will always endeavor to take their business and value propositions to local communities particularly their customers in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

He shared with the audience, Reliance’s excitement for being the preferred financial services partner of EMPAS and their out-growers which has culminated into the signing ceremony of the MoU as part of the soft launching of the Farato Farms.

Mr Khan also reminded the gathering about the relevance of the Farato Farms business initiative in response to the President, His Excellency Sheikh, Alhaji Dr Yayha A.J.J. Jammeh’s vision of "growing what you eat" and "eating what you grow" within the overall Back to the Land Call frame work.

While underscoring the importance of the Agricultural sector within the overall context of the socio-economic and developmental aspirations of The Gambia, Mr Khan maintained that it employs between 70 per cent to 80 per cent of the economically active population, contributes 30 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and yet only receives between 12 per cent and 15 per cent of the total loans and advances from the conventional banks.

He thus explained the importance of availing affordable finance to the agricultural sector as a catalyst for growth and economic development without which he said the aspirations of our country to move on to value-adding processes, small scale manufacturing and industrialization would not be possible or would take much longer.

He also cited the massive importation bill that the government incurs annually. He said by investing and developing the Agricultural sector, as demonstrated by Mr Jobe describing him as an entrepreneur par excellence, should inspire many more Gambians to emulate him in this endeavor.

The Reliance Financial Services MD, further explained in greater details as to how the value proposition put forward by Reliance will provide access to finance across the value chain starting with the suppliers of inputs such as corn and fish meal used to prepare chicken feed, the rearing of the chicks in terms of suitable houses and feeding systems to the market makers who buy the final produce from EMPAS and sell to the consumers using their recently launched Local Purchase Order (LPO) or Contract Financing which captures the entire financial ecosystem along the value chain of the Poultry Farming.

He thanked Mr Jobe and his entire Management team for the partnership while expressing gratitude to the GGCP for their support in the development of their Agri-business program in the latter part of 2013.

Amadou Demba, the first beneficiary of the MoU that was signed, also commended EMPAS while highlighting the importance of their intervention in helping his business and that of many more of his colleagues in the sector.

He explained that the frustrations they used to endure in importing chicks and chicken feed from Senegal and other European Countries, as well as the losses they incur not to mention the cost of transportation all of which they can now save as they can source all of their inputs directly from EMPAS. He thus thanked Reliance for their timely intervention in the sector, saying accessing finance to expand and grow their businesses has always been their biggest challenge.

Officials at the ceremony were later taken on a conducted tour of the facilities starting at the Hatchery. They also had the privilege of witnessing the hatching of a batch of chicks, which were to be delivered to one of the out-growers, Amadou Demba the Proprietor of Siffoe Farms.

Some of the audiences also participated in the sorting and packaging of the chicks ready for delivery after seeing the first vaccinations being performed on all the chicks, before they were taken to the processing plant, which is at an advanced stage of completion pending the installation of the automated processing machines.

James Mboob, the processing Manager at the Farm also led officials to the current processing plant where over two dozens of women all from Farato village were seen processing the fully bred chicken bound for supermarket shelves and eventually for our consumption in our lunch and dinner meals.

In addition to the economic benefits, the company, Empas currently employed over one hundred women from the community of Farato and intend to increase this number to two hundred and fifty in the near future.

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