‘Gov’t commits to the realisation of food, nutrition security for Gambians’

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

The vice president and minister of Women Affairs has underscored that The Gambia government under the leadership of President Adama Barrow is very much committed to ensuring that food and nutrition security for the populace is realised.

Ousainou Darboe was speaking on Monday during the opening of the 34th Food Crisis Prevention Network (RPCA) annual meeting, otherwise called Sahel West Africa Week, held at a hotel in Brufut heights.

Hosted by The Gambia under the patronage of ECOWAS, West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), the three-day meeting is being organised by the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) and the Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat (SWAC/OECD). The RPCA annual gathering attracts the region’s key food and nutrition security stakeholders.

Minister Darboe reminded that the government of The Gambia is fully aware that food security doesn’t directly translate into improved nutritional status, saying they are making efforts to invest in areas such as water sanitation, education, health and economic empowerment.

“In most countries including The Gambia, women form the backbone of the agriculture and food production sectors, looking at the bulk of agriculture labourers,” he said.

Women, he said, also play a key role in household food security, further stating that women are in the frontline in nutrition as caregivers in the family, producing story, cleaning, cooking food for consumption and ensuring that food is available for the children first.

The government, he added, is committed to providing appropriately work efficient technology to see a reduction of the workload on women by building resilient of households. This, he added, is even clearly spelt out in The Gambia National Development Plan 2018-2021, which has placed strong emphasis on social protection and inclusiveness.

Minister Darboe noted that the theme for the 34th session of the network meeting on food and nutrition security, conservation, agriculture and value change development or resilient mission is very apt, as it is stated well within the development agenda of The Gambia government.

“The Gambia like many other countries in the Sub-regions continuous to actively engage in the attainment of food and nutrition security,” he added.

He thus expressed with delight in hosting this very important meeting in the country, which he said, seeks to give it the relevant and important it desires.

Veep Darboe maintained that the issue of food security and food self sufficiency is a matter of collective concern and that they would therefore prepare global efforts to realise its eventual control.

“The Gambia agriculture sector has been striving under difficult circumstances as about 95% of the poor are farmers. The sector continues to erotically undiversified farmers barely sustain themselves from their produce,” he said.

Also speaking, H.E. Attila Lajos, EU Ambassador to The Gambia said that the initiative aims to discuss the common challenges of food crisis in West Africa, acknowledging that agriculture remains under resource as it is affected by climate change.

EU Ambassador observed that in The Gambia like in many countries, the situation is less favourable, as it has been a clear signal that these situations are over challengeable in West Africa because huge migrants from different parts of Africa suffered due to these challenges.

He thus calls for concerted efforts to fight against all these problems, indicating that the fight against terrorism should not undermine hunger crisis in the country.

Francois-Xavier de Donnea, president of Sahel and West African Club (SWAC) said food production globally has been increased and sufficient in West Africa. He, however, revealed that there are acute problems in the areas of conflicts like Chad due to Boko Haram crisis and the border between Niger and Mali.

The Gambia, he went on, is an exception to conflict because there is free flow of food transfer and its trade mechanism is good.

He maintained that the link between insecurity and food insecurity is a major concern as its affect millions of people due to conflict.  

Author: Arfang M.S. Camara & Fatou Dem