Gambia government, in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organisation
(FAO), on Wednesday launched a US$6,288,356 project designed to minimise
climate hazard through agriculture.
Launched at Kairaba Hotel in Kololi, the project is funded by Global Environment Facility (GEF) and it targets 10 districts in North Bank, Central River and Upper River regions and 5,000 households involve in crop and livestock production.
Agriculture Minister Omar Jallow said the aim of the project is to promote sustainable and diversified livelihood strategies for reducing the impacts of climate variability and change in the agriculture and livestock sector.
Climate-related hazards have impact on the performance of The Gambia agriculture and the economy as a whole, he said.
“Changes in climate hazards will negatively affect crop and cattle production, variability of yields by hindering agricultural sustainability,” Hon. Jallow said.
“Challenges that exacerbated the impact of climate changes are institutional support services like agribusiness, agro processing and marketing opportunities that are not easily access by small production leading to widespread food insecurity that affects vulnerable population.”
Dr Perpetua Katepa-Kalala, FAO representative to The Gambia, said the mandate of the UN agency, in collaboration with government and relevant stakeholders, is to improve the levels of nutrition, increase agricultural productivity, better the lives of rural populations and contribute to the growth of world economy.
She said the project seeks to strengthen the government’s efforts towards better responding to climate risks, promote adaptation measures at local level to reduce risks to economic losses, and diversify and strengthen livelihoods and sources of income.
“It aims to reduce climate change risks and vulnerabilities in a cost-efficient way to deliver adaptation benefits,” she said.
Lamin B. Dibba, Minister of Environment, Climate Change and National Resources, said adapting agriculture to climate change project is to transform climate change challenges into development.
He said an analysis of the trend of climate change conducted in 1951 shows progressive warm and drier Gambia.
“Climate change projected to increase by about 0.3 degree in 2010 and 3.9 degree in 2100, and also rainfall is to decrease by 1 per cent in 2010 to 54 per cent in 2100 will corresponding affect Gambia as well,” the minister said.
He added that the irregular and non-sustainable use of resources has negatively impacted on the country’s natural wealth, including forest cover, declining fish stock and size, decrease biological diversity.