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ADB approves US$8.5M for Gambia agricultural project

Oct 7, 2015, 10:01 AM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

The African Development Bank (ADB) has approved US$8.5 million for The Gambia’s new agricultural project to support two components: Livestock Value Chain and Rice Value Chain production in the country.

The project will be implemented in three villages in the Upper River Region.

This was revealed at a stakeholders’ workshop on The Gambia Agricultural Value Chain Development Project (GAVDEP) appraisal held at the Baobab Hotel.

In his opening statement, the deputy Minister of Agriculture, Ousman Jammeh, said The Gambia National Agricultural Investment Plan (GNAIP) is the medium-term strategic plan of The Gambia.

“It is a framework that outlines strategic policy thrust, guiding project design, resource mobilization, allocation, and implementation across the agriculture sector,” he said.

The deputy Minister recalled that from 1994 to date, the Gambia government had presided over a sustained and significant increase in the number and size of development projects.

He added that under the GNAIP, the portfolio of donor-supported projects had increased in addition to the already existing projects.

Currently, he announced, six projects with a total close to US$130 million and at various stages of implementation are being implemented under the central projects coordinating unit of the Ministry of Agriculture.

The projects, he said, are funded mostly by the traditional donors in the agriculture sector which include the ADB, IFAD, Islamic Development Bank, World Bank, European Union and the United Nations.

The Agriculture Value Chain Development Project (AVCDP) aims to improve some key value chains, rice and livestock that are important to the improvement of food and nutrition security, but also improved livelihoods/income of the actors in these value chains, he said.

According to him, the project emphasised a unique value chain approach for developing all the processes, actors of the different but interconnected stages of production/rearing, harvesting, marketing and consumption of rice and livestock.

The deputy agric minister further said the project was proposed for intervention in pumping irrigation and livestock in appropriate ecologies and traditional rice growing communities in the Upper River Region.

The Project would have a skeletal staff to complement at the level of the central project coordinating unit of the Ministry of Agriculture and implementation would be done through the regional directorates of the Department of Agriculture and Livestock Services, he stated.

He said the staffing would include a project director, an M&E coordinator who would also coordinate all M&E issues of the Ministry of Agriculture projects.

The project is a five-year period with a total cost of about US$9million.

Deputy Minister Jammeh assured all that CPCU would ensure work through the department and the Ministry of Agriculture to strengthen the system, as well as sustaining efforts at the level of the field.

He challenged the Central Project Coordinating Unit (CPCU) and team to live up to expectations, hence marking a significant departure from the mode of operation of many standalone agricultural projects.

He encouraged the departments of Agriculture and Livestock Services and all others who will be implementing agencies of the agriculture value chain development project to continually re-examine their staff capacity at the level of the field, so they could be making the necessary adjustments to ensure that they live up to expectations.

He commended the ADB for having trust in the Gambia government, and for its commitment to funding agriculture and rural development in the country.