Gambia’s portfolio has increased by over US$30 million in five years
27 June 2019, Banjul - The Outgoing Country Representative of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in The Gambia has said that the agency’s Country Portfolio increased from $5.5million to over $35 million during her tour of duty in the country.
Mrs. Perpetua- Katepa-Kalala made this disclosure on 27 June at State House in Banjul during a courtesy call on His Excellency President Adama Barrow to bid him farewell.
Within the framework of its Country Programming Framework 2018 - 2018, The United Nations Development Assistance Framework 2017 - 2021 and the National Development Plan 2018 - 2021, FAO works in close partnership with several Government Ministries and agencies as well as NGOs and farmers for the realisation of set national, regional and global development targets. Over the years, FAO had strengthened its interventions in key areas related to its mandate with the sole aim of achieving its strategic objectives: help eliminate hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition; make agriculture, forestry and fisheries more productive and sustainable; reduce rural poverty, enable inclusive and efficient agricultural and food systems; and increase the resilience of livelihoods to disasters.
His Excellency, President Barrow expressed appreciation for FAO’s technical support to The Gambia. He acknowledged that the agency’s interventions in diverse sectors and guidance had had huge impacts on the lives and livelihoods of the Gambian populace. He expressed optimism that FAO will continue to contribute immensely toward the achievement of his government’s National Development Plan especially the pillar on food security.
Mrs. Perpetua- Katepa-Kalala who arrived in The Gambia in September 2013 explained that the agency is set to deliver more than $10 million dollars this year.
“FAO managed to strengthen the quality and level of assistance that we provide to The Gambia during the past few years. FAO provides technical support in the agriculture and natural resources sectors including the environment, forestry and fisheries”, she told the State House press corps after her audience with President Barrow.
Mrs. Perpetua Katepa-Kalala highlighted some of the notable achievements registered in recent years with funding mainly from the European Union and the Global Environment Facility and FAO. These include the strengthening of the country’s Agricultural Extension System; the National Seed Sector, crops and livestock production and productivity, nutrition, Forestry, Fisheries, food safety, and farmer-based organisations amongst others.
She noted that through the Farmer Field Approach, more than 10,000 farmers are now complementing the work of agriculture extension workers in the dissemination of best agriculture practices to farmers and thus improving yields and quality of produce.
She further said, “FAO has also been supporting the transformation of the National Seed Sector through the strengthening of the National Seed Secretariat. Through this intervention, the country is now able to certify seeds produced locally. This has enhanced farmers’ access to quality seeds as well as market for their produce. FAO has also provided support in strengthening the technical capacity of the Food Safety and Quality Authority of The Gambia. This has helped improve the monitoring mechanisms to ensure quality of food and better surveillance systems.”
“Small holder farmers and artisanal fisheries have also been empowered with knowledge, skills as well as provided with livelihoods enhancement support to build their resilience against climate change induced hazards for improved lives and livelihoods. FAO also supported the conduct of a livestock census and livestock vaccination campaigns amongst other things”.
Among other things, Mrs. Kalala also supervised the implementation of eight Community Vegetable Gardens equipped with solar-powered bore holes and water reticulation system, multi-purpose infrastructure and a poultry unit. Each garden is also being supported by two youth graduates from the Songhai Centre in Benin Republic. Furthermore, thirty-two new Community Vegetable Gardens to be equipped with solar-powered bore holes and water reticulation system and multi-purpose infrastructure are being established. Twenty-six of these are expected to be fully operational during the 2019/2020 gardening season. More than 90% of the direct beneficiaries are women and youths (more than 50%).
Mrs. Kalala was accompanied to the presidency by Louise Agathe Yaccine Tine, FAO Country representative a.i, and Haddy Lamin Njie, Assistant FAO Representative and Head of Programmes.