and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations has commenced a
project that is supporting the Ministry of Agriculture through the Plant
Protection Service (PPS) by training extension workers in the combat and
management of pest.
Funded through a European Union project dubbed “Agriculture for economic growth” the project is implemented by FAO, government institutions and NGOs in the North Bank Central River, Lower River and Upper River regions. The training was held at the Senegambia Beach hotel in Kololi.
Dr. Perpetua Katepa Kalala, FAO representative in The Gambia said the project intervention aims to contribute to sustainable growth in the agriculture sector and to reduce food insecurity and malnutrition to mitigate migration flows to Europe. “The Gambia is still a net importer of food and produces only half of its national requirements of staple foods,” she said.
Katepa Kalala said the major challenge facing agriculture in The Gambia is pest and diseases outbreaks that have been causing huge crop losses and in some cases total failure with food and nutrition deficiency. “This problem has been exacerbated by the introduction of new invasive pest species such as Fall Armyworm (FAW), Mealy bug and spiraling white fly.”
According to her, agriculture is one of the main drivers of Gambia’s GDP growth, saying it employs nearly half (46.4%) of the working population and 80.7% of the rural working population.