Nov 2, 2016, 11:32 AM
As part of its efforts at fighting food insecurity in The Gambia, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), through its telefood project, on 14 June 2012 handed over fishing materials to the community of Sanjally Kanikunda in the North Bank Region.
The items were presented at a ceremony held at Banjul graced by the officials from the fisheries department and FAO as well as local representatives from the beneficiary community.
The materials donated include two fishing boats worth of D124,000, two 8 horsepower outboard engines worth of D81,000,10 fishing nets costing D45,000 and two bicycles valued at D5,000 thus makes the total cost of the materials D255,000.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, FAO Country Representative Babagana Ahmadu said telefood is FAO’s global efforts at raising awareness about hunger and food insecurity.
“It is also an effort to mobilize resources for hundreds of hunger fighting projects,” he said.
He said the telefood is one of the responses to the 1996 World Food Summit’s call to action to eradicate hunger.
Even though significant progresses have been made towards World Food Summit goal in halving the number of hungry people by 2015, more need to be done, he noted.
“Since 1997 when the telefood campaign was initiated many people have supported telefood, some offer financial support, others participated in organizing the telefood events,” he said.
According to him, the initiative made it possible by funding more than 2500 projects in 130 countries around the world.
“Since its start, the Telefood campaign has generates over US$20 million in donations and the telefood Special Fund finances grassroots level micro-projects that help small-scale farmers produce more food and generate cash income, for better access to food.
He added that The Gambia has also benefited considerably from the Telefood funds, every year since 1998.
He added that to date over 50 projects have been approved and launched in The Gambia.
The telefood committee, in collaboration with department of fisheries, over the years has managed to raise significant amount of funds locally by organizing Telefood events like fishing days.
The project supported in Kanikunda, he said, aims at helping the fishermen to find ways to bring an end to their dependence on rented fishing equipment as well as take unilateral control of their fishing activities.
Speaking earlier, fisheries director Famara Dampha said the material assistance to the sector is provided with the support of the FAO under its telefood projects programme.
Mr Dampha said they provided support to strengthen the operation of the fishermen and increase their income.
The FAO through its Telefood projects has provided vital assistance towards reducing post-harvest losses in fisheries sector, he said, adding that the provision of equipment and capacity building to four fisheries projects is under review, with high probability of being approved.
The current material assistance to the fishing community of Sanjally Kanikunda will go a long way in assisting the community, he said.
“The community of Kanikunda should form a special committee for the operation and management of the equipment and the officer responsible for North Bank Region will always be available to give advice,” he said.
Other speakers on the occasion included the National Assembly representative of Sanjally, Yusupha Ceesay and Village Development Committee Chairman Faburama Gassama who both expressed appreciation on behalf of the beneficiaries.