We are delighted to welcome the new YPARD Gambia representative, Haddy Ceesay.
As a farmer’s daughter, agriculture has always been a part of her life. She remembers her father nurtured the passion and love that she and her siblings have for agriculture while they were very young. The family had a backyard garden and their father used to come home with farm inputs such as vegetable seeds, garden tools, watering cans and fertilisers. He then made beds for Haddy and her siblings and taught them how to grow and care for the plants. Instead of going out to play like regular kids she and her siblings spent a lot of time in the garden. Climbing the educational ladder from basic school, she pursued a degree in International Business.
This path, however, did not kill her passion for agriculture. Upon the successful completion of her degree from the University of Glamorgan, Wales, UK. She moved back home and her father convinced her to work in their family business, Gambia Horticultural Enterprise (GHE), a multipurpose agri-business company engaged in the entire horticultural value chain. GHE was established by Momodou A. Ceesay (Haddy’s father and mentor), a Horticultural Scientist in 1991 with the overall goal of commercializing the horticultural sub-sector in the Gambia.
The company has over 27 years’ experience in growing and export marketing of fresh horticultural produce especially mangoes to Europe. GHE is now the biggest Horticultural Company in Gambia operating as input supplier, producer, processor, wholesaler, retailer, export marketing and services provider. The company is the largest distributor of vegetable seeds, fertilizer, pesticides, farm/garden tools and equipment, farm machinery and agro-food processing machinery and equipment in Gambia.
Working in the agriculture sector right after university has been a challenging experience for Haddy. She had to do a lot of research on the technical part as well as value chains and was lucky to have her father as her mentor. She eventually developed a strong passion for agriculture through her activities in GHE and engagements with her partners in the agricultural sector. With her background in International Business coupled with her wealth of knowledge and experience in the agriculture field of over seven years, Haddy has no doubt in her absolute passion and drive to further strengthen the agribusiness sector in the Gambia with a special focus on women and youth leveraging the YPARD Gambia platform.
Recently, GHE partnered with Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) for a series of on-the-job training on Agro-Food Processing, Pest Control and Agro-product Marketing in our facilities to build the capacities of youths and leverage their energy in the agricultural sector. This is a project which she coordinated for the inclusiveness and empowerment of youth in the socio-economic development of the Gambia. She has a strong belief that if young people can be trained and empowered to take a central role in agricultural value chains, it will be an effective strategy to building a resilient food system that will create economic opportunities for the youth.
When asked about her ambition for YPARD, Haddy said, “It is my goal to develop YPARD Gambia as one of the strongest chapters in Africa through strategic partnerships with farmers, processors, government, donors, research institutions, universities, private sector and any other key stakeholders for the rapid development of the sector.”
Expressing her excitement at being the first Country Representative for YPARD Gambia, she said, “I am very excited to be part of this movement of dynamic young people. As the new country representative of the YPARD Gambia chapter, I am grateful for the opportunity to introduce this great movement to my country and work on implementing its strategic activities as well as creating my own unique path in agriculture as a youth.”
Welcome on board, Haddy Ceesay.
If you are from or based in the Gambia and want to get involved in YPARD Gambia activities, please contact Haddy at firstname.lastname@example.org