Cash-for-Work component of the European Union (EU) Funded “Post-Crises Response
to Food and Nutrition insecurity in The Gambia” in Central River Region (South
and North) has recently came to an end at Jahally rice fields.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), UNICEF and WFP jointly implemented the project in close partnership with the Ministries of Health and Agriculture.
Dr. Perpetua Katepa Kalala, FAO representative in The Gambia said the objective of the project is to improve household food security in targeted regions by promoting employment in the agricultural sector through cash for work programmes and increased food diversification through processing and fortification of locally available food crops.
“The project is also aimed at improving nutrition and care practices in targeted regions by promoting better nutrition and health outcomes among target groups” she added.
Dr.Kalala lamented that FAO’s cash-based programming provides assistance to smallholder farmers, rural communities and other vulnerable men and women, who are particularly exposed to impacts of climate change, natural hazards, economic shocks, conflicts and protracted crises.
She appealed to local communities for regular maintenance of the rice irrigation scheme, pointing out that is one of the main assets for rice production in that region.
“In pursuit of increase access to farm input and equipment, 18 power Tillers and 33 Rice Threshers are procured to support production and post-harvest processing of farmers in CRR North and South, LRR, NBR and URR which are the targeted communities,” she said.
European Union Ambassador to The Gambia Atilla Lajos said the problem has at its core the desire to tackle high stunting and wasting rates that are present in URR, CRR LRR and NBR rural communities.
“The project is being implemented using the UNICEF infant and young child feeding (IYCF) framework. Under the project, up to 1000 men and women from food insure households have been doing infrastructure work in the rice producing districts.”
Agriculture minister Omar A Jallow said Gambian farmers constitute 70% of the population, saying it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that demands of the farmers are fulfilled.
At the ceremony, FAO handed over 17- power tillers and 17- rice thresher machines to the farmers through the Ministry of Agriculture aimed at contributing to increase rice production and reduction in post-harvest productivity, food security and income.