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285,000 people are at risk of food insecurity, says project manger

Aug 7, 2017, 11:24 AM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

Ousman Jammeh, project manager of Bio-fortification, an EU-funded project and implemented by United Purpose (formerly known as Concern Universal), has lamented that The Gambia has experienced an alarming increase in malnutrition.

He said agriculture accounts for 23% of GDP and employs 75% of the rural population yet food security is an increasing problem with 285,000 people at risk of food insecurity (FAO 2014).

He disclosed this while delivering a speech during the national launching of the Bio-fortification project held recently.

He added that cereal production dropped by 23% overall from 2013 to 2014 as a result of the environmental challenges and early millet production has declined by 14% since 2009 (NASS 2014).

Mr Jammeh said food and nutrition security are a challenge in all the five regions of the country, adding that CRR North and South and URR were recently classified by NaNA as entering the red zone indicating an emergency situation.

According to him, lack of nutritious food and knowledge on nutrition is a further challenge, particularly for mothers, which results into critical deficiencies for children.

He stated that malnutrition is a problem throughout the country but varies in different local government areas.

Mr Jammeh thanked the European Union for their support in this direction as well as United Purpose for crafting the proposal and the government of The Gambia for the enabling environment.

He indicated that the project which is for four-years is being funded by the European Union to the tune of €2.6 million.

The overall objective is to reduce under nutrition and poverty of vulnerable populations, especially women and children in The Gambia by strengthening sustainable access to and consumption of fortified foods.

He also explained that “Baluu Tim - Maringo” Project is aimed at systemic and sustainable changes that would provide better health and nutrition based on value chain approach to ensure maximum sustainability.

“A strong communication campaign is required to drive behaviour and market demand to ensure that uptake of fortified foods link to better production practices and nutrition health knowledge. There will be a communication and ICT component in the project to reach population at scale.”

The overall objective is to improve the nutritional status of women and children in The Gambia through the adoption of bio fortified foods.