government of The Gambia through the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) on Wednesday
hosted a regional Board Meeting of Network of Public Structures for the
management of Natural Food Security Stocks in the Sahel and West Africa
(RESOGEST) at Ocean Bay Hotel.
The meeting is from the 21st to 23rd August 2019,
The regional convergence that brought participants from various countries in the sub region was organised by RESOGEST and facilitated by CILSS.
Declaring the meeting open on behalf of the minister of Agriculture, Omar Jammeh, deputy permanent secretary, Projects and Programmes at the Ministry of Agriculture said the ECOWAS region has experienced strong growth in agricultural production over the last 20 years compared with rest of the continent.
He stated that the growth of the main products generally followed the increase in demand brought about by demographic growth. “Despite these gains, food insecurity remains a major challenge,” he said. “FAO statistics indicate that more than 34 million people are undernourished in the sub-region.”
According to DPS Jammeh, the major structural factor of food insecurity remains the very high level of poverty in the region. In spite the good level of growth in food availability in the region, access to a diversified and sufficient food supply remains difficult for many poor households, he added.
He explained that for more than a decade, the region has experienced a series of crisis, the most striking of which are the food and nutrition crisis in Niger in 2004/2005; the hike in international prices in 2007/2008 particularly affecting the urban dwellers of the region, the pastoral crisis in 2009/2010; the food crisis affecting the entire Sahel belt in 2011/2012.
Faced with this situation, RESOGEST within the framework of the implementation of its action plan 2018-2019 with CILSS supports RESOGEST in the process of development of the handbook of administrative and financial procedures. The main objective according to him, is to update members on progress registered within the framework of the roadmap 2018-2019 and the action plan 2019 as well as to validate the document of the manual procedure handbook.
In 2017, the Ministry of Agriculture and ECOWAS signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Ouagadougou, Burkina Fasso. This Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation set the framework for collaboration between RAAF/ECOWAS and the government of The Gambia through the Ministry of Agriculture to implement the activities of the Food Security Storage Support Programme in West Africa and to ensure constant, structured flow of information sharing on food security situation.
Mr. Jammeh said recently ECOWAS technical arm RAAF is supporting The Gambia to development its strategy band manual procedure of it stock governance instruments.
“I believe that it is very valuable to have this meeting as a medium in establishing understanding, share good practices and experience, learn lessons and above all, validate that very important document.”
“The Gambia like many countries in the sub- Saharan Africa is facing many challenges with regard to population growth, poverty and especially food insecurity. Realising food security has become a world commitment and is a pre-condition to meet with the right for Access to Food.”