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FAO boosts community gardeners with seeds, fertilizer

Jan 5, 2016, 10:08 AM | Article By: BakarySamateh

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations country office has procured vegetable seeds and fertilizer worth D1,172,200 for the farming communities engaged in gardening.

The intervention funded by the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) through the 2015 CERF project, was part of its assistance to vulnerable farming communities in The Gambia.

The handing-over ceremony of the inputs to the Minister of Agriculture was held recently at the Ministry in Banjul, for onward distribution of the materials to community vegetable garden schemes nationwide.

During the handing-over ceremony, a one-year Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) designed to improve livelihoods and food security for smallholder farmers through enhanced commercialised poultry production was signed by the Agriculture minister and FAO country representative.

The US$411,000 project would support the establishment of 19 broilers and 5 layers schemes, with each of the schemes receiving a one-off support for one year of 500 day-old chicks, materials, inputs, training and healthcare as initial support.

Speaking at both ceremonies, the FAO country representative, Dr Perpetua Katepa-Kalala, said the inputs were part of the FAO support through their 2015 CEREF Project.

The project would help to commercialise poultry farming and production.

The FAO country representative further said the project would provide chicks for the layer schemes, and the department of the livestock services would be the implementing institution in partnership with FAO.

She pointed out that each of the schemes would receive a one-off support for one year of 500 days-old chicks, materials, inputs, training and healthcare as initial support.

She thanked the Ministry of Agriculture for collaborating with FAO, adding that their doors are always open to the Ministry of Agriculture for more projects.

The project would focus on helping the commercialisation of the poultry production in the country, as well as to fight food insecurity in the country, according to the FAO official.

Also speaking at the ceremony was the Director General of the Department of Livestock Services, Dr Duto Sainey Fofana, who said a sustainable broiler and egg industry, producing additional meat and eggs would result in the reduction of importation of poultry products, as well as create employment and income generation, thereby increasing food security and significantly contributing to growth of the traditional economy.

“This TCP will facilitate the establishment of 24 commercial poultry production schemes, 19 broilers and 5 layers by providing inputs and technical support to beneficiaries.”

The documents they signed were not only a commitment to improving the livelihoods of farmers, but also efforts to join hands for the attainment of food self-sufficiency and food security.

“The TCP signing is a clear manifestation of the good relationship between FAO and the Gambia Government, which began a long time ago,” Dr Fofana added.

During the past three years, he noted, FAO had provided both technical and financial assistance to the department of Livestock Services in the control of Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP) through TCPs.

Therefore, he added, “this TCP marks an important milestone in the strengthening of ties”, and that he was confident the collaboration would inspire more joint development activities in the future.