The embassy of the United States of America in Banjul in partnership with USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) has announced that the United States is providing $500,000 to address food insecurity concerns across The Gambia.
Crop failure, poor rains and increased food prices prompted Ambassador Pamela Ann White to declare a disaster emergency for The Gambia on May 8, 2012.
A USAID humanitarian team recently conducted an assessment in country, and found that many families have already depleted their household food stocks, triggering the start of the lean season two to three months earlier than normal.
In addition, decreased crop production prevented farmers from collecting the seeds needed for the upcoming planting season.
The funds provided by the U.S. Embassy in Banjul will help provide seeds and fertilizer needed to improve the chances of a successful 2012 harvest.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will use the money to purchase 100 metric tonnes of certified quality groundnut seeds from Kano, Nigeria.
The FAO in collaboration with Ministry of Agriculture and National Disaster Management Agency plans to distribute the seeds by June 15th. Without assistance, farmers would have lacked the resources to plant crops during the June-to-October rainy season.
“Ambassador White is extremely pleased that the United States of America is able to provide much-needed resources to address the dire food situation that faces The Gambia. The American people truly do care about the health and welfare of Gambians.
“The U.S. government is committed to helping people in the Sahel break the cycle of drought, hunger and malnutrition by supporting programs that build resilience in their community.
This year alone, the U.S. provided more than $218 million in humanitarian assistance to the region”, according to a news release.