In the Gambia, everything is a surprise!

Text: Ine Sturkenboom

Images: Ine Sturkenboom

Smart farming for SDG’s

The National Food Security Processing & Marketing Corporation  from the Gambia has entered a collaboration with mechanisation company Tijms VOF from Geesbrug in the Netherlands.

In this collaboration, the aim is to improve food security, as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

At farm level this means more attention to water management and Smart Farming.

Involvement of VET students

Ine Sturkenboom , professor for Nature Inclusive Agriculture at TERRA MBO,  got involved and took four of her students to the Gambia to work in this project.

Their trip is subsidised by the Erasmus + mobility program for learners and staff.






At a number of locations in Basse Sante Fu, fields are prepared and drip-irrigation installed,  to start crops of onions, pumpkin, melon, white and brown beans and sweet potatoes.

To support this, 5 Dutch farmers, including father Lammert Tijms (picture) , joined the group to the Gambia. Together with local farmers they worked in the fields for 16 days.

Rise and shine!

Every day, at 7 am., the day starts. Containers with all the necessary equipment are placed at the field.

During breakfast, in the shade of the container, the job for the day is discussed and tasks are divided. Mowing, cultivating, leveling the fields, watering before sowing, and the installation of the drip irrigation system.

In the meantime, the students discuss with the Gambian farmers about their lives, their education and their needs.

The whole group has to tackle unforeseen challenges. They learn to be creative when certain materials are not available as expected. They get a golden opportunity to show their own knowledge, to think in solutions and to apply them.

But, it’s also about chatting with the local policeman, the islamic culture and the gender division. About eating spicy food from the same bowl, poverty, pollution, the level of education and the completely different lifestyle of young people. In the Gambia, everything is a surprise!



More stories