May 29, 2009, 7:01 AM
The European Union-funded MDG1c project implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, in collaboration with the department of Agriculture that seeks to contribute to supporting smallholder farmers and small-scale food processing and marketing techniques, was validated recently at the Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi.
The project was set out to increase household food security and income of the participating farmers, improve nutrition, particularly children in targeted areas, and increase community awareness of appropriate nutrition and dietary practice.
The project’s main target groups of the production enhancement and marketing component are the smallholder producers with particular focus on women and youth.
The component is intervening in 27 districts within the Upper River Region and Central Region (North and South).
Speaking at the ceremony, Amie Jallow-Jatta, the project coordinator, said component one of the project commissioned a baseline study to gather information on the current situation of the selected communities within the project intervention areas.
She added that the result of the study would establish a benchmark of indicators that would be regarded as yardstick to measure project progress and achievements against the set targets and outcomes under the component’s “production enhancement and marketing”.
She said that in the framework of the 11th European Development Fund EC provided funding for ACP countries off-track the attainment of the MDGs.
She added that to accelerate MDG attainment in the country, assistance was directed at smallholder farmers and smallholder processors, to overcome production constraints and add value to improve nutritional status via SEP.
She also said the aim is to improve food security through crop intensification and marketing MDG1c project, which was a three-year project.
The objective involves accelerating progress towards achieving MDG1c specifically to increase household food security and income of farmers, as well as to contribute to breaking the intergenerational cycle of malnutrition and hunger by improving nutrition in schools and increasing community awareness of appropriate nutrition and dieting practices.
Sheriff Bojang, deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture for Programme and Project, underscored the importance of the workshop.
Component 1, he noted, is production enhancement and marketing, component 2 is school feeding programme and component 3 is project coordination and management.
The training programme is in line with the ministry’s top agenda on food security, hence participants were advised to take it with seriousness, he added.