Apr 17, 2009, 6:36 AM
The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) on Wednesday handed over garden inputs to women vegetable growers associations in the country through Women’s Bureau.
The gesture formed part of the Women’s Bureau telefood project to enhance vegetable production and processing.
The telefood special fund finances grassroots micro-projects that help small farmers produce more food and generate income for better access to food.
Speaking at the handing over of items, the FAO country representative to The Gambia, Dr Babagana Ahmadu, said telefood is a global effort of FAO to raise awareness about hunger and food insecurity.
It is also an effort to mobilize resources for hundreds of hunger-fighting projects and one of the responses to the 1996 World Food Summit’s call to action to eradicate hunger.
The garden inputs handed over include 20 wheelbarrows, 20 spades, 10 garden folks, 13 bags of Urea fertilizers of 50 kg, 20 tins of onion seeds of 500g, 20 tins of tomato seeds of 100g, 20 tins of cabbage of 500g, and 50 rolls of galvanised fencing wires amounting to US$9,789 equivalent to D323,000
He also stated that the provision of these garden inputs to the women vegetable grower associations in WCR, NBR, CRR, LRR and URR will help to enhance their vegetable production and productivity and reduce hunger and malnutrition among women and children in the targeted villages in these regions.
“It will make the women beneficiaries to be more independent and self-sufficient,” he said.
According to him, significant progresses have been made towards World Food Summit goal of reducing the number of hungry people by 2015 by half but added that more needs to be done.
More resources need to be generated to increase the production levels as well as to increase levels of the rural people, he said.
The FAO country boss also stated that since 1997 when the telefood campaign was initiated many people have supported the telefood initiative both financially or by organizing telefood events.
The telefood initiative of FAO has made that possible by funding more than 2500 projects in 130 countries around the world.
He said The Gambia has also benefited considerably from the telefood funds.
He said every year since 1998 FAO has managed to launched new telefood projects in The Gambia.
There have been efforts to raise funds locally in The Gambia to contribute to the global telefood fund.
He also used the opportunity to thank the beneficiary communities and Women’s Bureau for their dedication and hard work in ensuring that the project is implemented.
These inputs, combined with the dedication and hard work of the group members, will indeed increase the production of good quality vegetable and will greatly benefit the women vegetable grower whose livelihood depends directly or in directly in the production of vegetable for their sustenance, Dr Ahmadu remarked.
For her part, the deputy speaker of the National Assembly Hon. Fatou Mbye, who doubles as the chairperson of the National Women Council, said these projects among others, is to specially address the strategic problems of vegetable growers in 5 communities across the country as a pilot project.
The project will also help increase production capacity and income of the beneficiary communities as well as improve the nutritional status and their families, she said.
According to her, the items will be distributed to Somita Women’s Garden in WCR, Pakaliba in LRR, Manneh Kunda in CRR, Kabakama in URR and Jammeh Kunda in NBR.
Other speakers on the occasion included the deputy permanent secretary, Office of the Vice President and Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Abdoulie Bah.
He hailed the FAO for their support while urging the beneficiaries to put the items into good use to increase production.