Editorial: Promoting horticulture in Gambia!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Horticulture is an integral component and a sector that continues to be a major and important contributor to Gambia’s economic growth and development. Officials reveal that the sector accounts directly for a significant percentage of the Gross Domestic Product –GDP, while also contributing to 80 percent of Gambian rural workforce.

At the global stage there has been considerable gains made with regards to reducing hunger and protein malnutrition, but considerable progress is required to reduce micronutrient vitamins and minerals malnutrition, which is estimated to affect the health of up to two billion people.

This need is recognised and encapsulated in UN Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG2) end hunger, achieves food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.

To this end, research and development institutions such as the Global Horticultural Initiative (GHI) and the World Vegetable Center have embraced the concept of Horticulture for Sustainable Development (H4sD) with the aim of reducing micronutrient deficiency through the increased production and consumption of fruit and vegetables.

Increased fruit and vegetable production brings many other benefits to people, such as enhanced income for smallholder farmers and other value chain participants, employment opportunities throughout the value chain, empowerment of women, and more sustainable agriculture when it is incorporated as part of an agricultural diversification program.

Thus, fruit and vegetable horticulture has great potential to contribute directly to several of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG 2 (Zero hunger) and SDG 12 (Responsible consumption and production).

The Government of The Gambia over the years continues to support small scale farmers so as to improve production and productivity.

Cognizant of the important of the sector, it continues to play a significant role in meeting national objectives of employment creation, food and nutrition security, poverty eradication and industrial transformation.

Also, one of the strategies of the NEMA Project is to assist women and youth in the rural parts of The Gambia to develop their skills and organisations to take advantage of improved horticulture and agricultural technologies and effective production services. 

A Guest Editorial