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FAO Boosts National Horticulture Sector Master Plan

Jun 28, 2013, 10:56 AM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on Thursday presented office equipment to the Department of Agriculture for the development of National Horticultural Sector Master Plan Project (NHSMP).

The presentation of items to the Ministry of Agriculture came through the technical cooperation programme (TCP) project on support for the National Horticultural sector master plan.

The FAO country representative handed over office equipment including 3desktop computers, 2 laptop computers, 1 scanner, 3 printers, 1 heavy duty photocopier, 1 digital camera and 1 digital projector to agric officials.

In her remarks on the occasion, deputy director of horticultural technical services, who doubles as the coordinator of the NHSMP, Amie Fabureh-Dampha, said the national horticulture sector master plan will be premised on the Gambia National Agricultural Investment Plan-2011-2015 (GNAIP) and the Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE).

She further stated that the government has identified horticulture as one of the priority areas for development.

“Horticulture is an important source of income, employment and also an entry point for improving food and nutritional security in The Gambia, especially in the rural areas,” he said.

According to her, the national horticulture sector master plan will emphasize a holistic chain approach focusing on women and youth farmers on the production side and fostering sustainable linkages with existing national, regional and international markets for traditional horticultural products as well as less exploited segment such as floriculture or high value fruits.

Madam Fabureh also told the gathering that the project will support and establish an information system for efficient communication system among key stakeholders ensuring a greater participation within the horticulture sector.

The NHSMP process will also inform the national medium term programme framework of the FAO Gambia as well as the donor portfolio of major development partners in the horticultural sector.

For his part, the FAO country representative, Dr Babagana Ahmadu, said the technical cooperation programme (TCP) supports the FAO-member nations through projects which address technical problems in agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors.

The aim of a TCP project is to produce tangible and immediate results in the battle against hunger and to serve as catalyst for long-term development changes, he said.

In his statement the deputy permanent secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Sherifo Bojang, said the Ministry of Agriculture, in collaboration with the department of agriculture, has requested FAO assistance in preparing a national horticulture sector master plan.

The main objective of the project is to establish a national horticulture sector master plan that enables the government to result to improving the livelihoods and food and nutritional security of the people of The Gambia, particularly women and youths.

Momodou Ceesay of Gambia Horticultural Enterprise (GHE), who also doubles as the chairperson of the NHSMP,emphasised the importance of the project.

He said the donation of the office equipment would go a long way in helping in the implementation of the project.

He then thanked the FAO for the assistance while describing the intervention as very timely and assured that the office equipment will be put into good use.