D1.2B agricultural project launched

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

A project valued D1.2 billion on Agriculture for Economic Growth and Food Security/Nutrition to Mitigate Migration Flows has been Wednesday launched in Farafenni, in North Bank Region (NBR).

Launched by Claudiana Cole, the minister of Basic and Secondary Education on behalf of the vice president and the minister of Women Affairs, the four-year project seeks to contribute to sustainable growth in the agricultural sector and reduce food insecurity and malnutrition to mitigate migration flows to Europe.

The project is funded by the European Union and is in line with The Gambia national development priorities and will be implemented in North Bank, Lower, Central and Upper River Regions through targeted interventions, including school meals, agricultural investment and disaster risk management.

Minister Cole said the success of the project will lie in its ability to establish adequate market linkages between the key stakeholders in marketing, namely, financial service providers, business development service providers (BDS), farmer organisation (cooperatives/kafos/associations/, market actors among others.

“The Gambia government applauds the European Commission’s initiative to invest in agricultural development in The Gambia through a partnership with the UN FAO and WFP,” she noted.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) representative in The Gambia, Dr. Perpetua Katepa Kalala, said the project will last for 48 months with a total budget of 14.9 million Euros.

Dr. Perpetua Katepa Kalala, added that migration in The Gambia, particularly in the rural areas is contributing to a market reduction in agricultural labour supply, affecting output and quality, adding that since 2013, irregular migration to Europe has grown significantly.

“Under these circumstances, as the country a limited natural resource endowment, the agriculture sector should continue to be given special attention and modernized in a specific manner in order to generate growth and employment, both in the rural areas and within the value chains,” she added.

The director general of Agriculture, Shariyan Jobarteh, on behalf of the minister of Agriculture stated that, “we live in a time of dramatic global changes. Enough food is being produced in the world today. However, climate change, conflicts, migration and political marginalisation of the poor are all contributing to the hunger that exists in many areas.”

The EU Programme Manager Darrell Sexstone, said the 1.2 billion dalasi programme is self-contained and has three components.

Sexstone said that the overall programme aims to create growth and employment opportunities, in particular for women and youth, through improved agricultural productivity as well as access to food, whilst at the same time increasing most vulnerable smallholders’ participation in value chains.

Madam Magdalek Moshi, WFP representative disclosed that WFP will coordinate the implementation of the two main components of this assistance. “The first is the provision of daily nutritious school meals, using local foods purchased from local smallholder farmers such as rice, maize, millet, beans or “Nyebeh” as we call it in The Gambia, groundnuts, and green leafy vegetables.”

Author: Momodou Jawo