Ernest Aubee, a Gambian working as principal programme officer and head of the Agriculture Division at the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja, recently presented agricultural research journals covering a range of subjects in the agriculture sector to the University of The Gambia.
The ceremony held at the Gambia College campus, was Mr Aubee’s second donation to the UTG as the first donation was of educational materials.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Aubee expressed his delight to be associated with the UTG, and his pleasure to make the donation of agriculture journals as his own modest contribution towards the development of the university, especially its Faculty of Agriculture and Environment Science.
His objective is to enhance the teaching and learning of agriculture at the UTG, as the journals are up to date and relevant for both the lecturers and students, Mr Aubee said.
He added that he would continue to support the University of The Gambia, and thanked the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Muhammad Kah, for giving him the opportunity to make such presentation.
Prof. Kah thanked Ernest Aubee for the “valuable gifts of agricultural journals to the UTG.”
Kah described Aubee as a friend of the UTG and a patriotic citizen of The Gambia, adding that the donation was timely and relevant to the current development taking place at the UTG.
Kah reminded the audience of the UTG Chancellor’s continuing efforts to transform the university to a world-class institution of learning, and of his support to agricultural development within the university and the country at large.
A live panel discussion moderated by Prof Kah on how to develop agriculture at the national and regional levels, followed the presentation ceremony.
Various speakers lauded the Vision 2016 initiative as a step in the right direction, and that it would not only bring about food self-sufficiency, but would also improve the general agriculture output of the region.
Solutions were advanced on some of the challenges affecting agricultural productivity in West Africa, and the need to have a shift in mindset of the youths on agriculture development.
The participants also praised Mr Aubee for supporting the UTG and, in particular, its agriculture programme.
The vote of thank was delivered by the UTG communications officer.
Attending the presentation ceremony were senior UTG staff, lecturers and students, the Executive Director of ActionAid International-The Gambia, Omar Badji, the presidential adviser on Agriculture, Prof. Wale Adenkunle, and other personalities from UN agencies, the public and private sectors, as well as civil society organisations.
Ernest Aubee also seized the opportunity to present a lecture on the topic: “Status of the Regional Agriculture Investment Plan of the ECOWAS Commission.”
ECOWAS heads of states and government adopted the ECOWAS Agriculture Policy (ECOWAP) in 2005 in Accra, Ghana.
The development of the ECOWAP is in tandem with the comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), which was also adopted in 2003, he said.
The main policy thrust of the ECOWAP is to ensure food security in the ECOWAS region in a coherent and sustainable manner in the 15 member states.
In order to operationalise the ECOWAP, the ECOWAS Commission provided financial and technical support to develop National Agriculture Investment Plans (NAIP).
A Regional Agriculture Investment Plan (RAIP) was also developed by the ECOWAS Commission to address agricultural concerns that were of common concern to the region.
Aubee’s lecture also looked at the various regional agricultural programmes developed, the achievements, challenges and the way forward.
The role of the ECOWAS member states in the implementation of both the NAIPs and RAIP are crucial in the attainment of food security in the ECOWAS region, he pointed out.
Issues of complementarity and synergy were also discussed between the regional and national efforts in addressing food insecurity.