May 16, 2011, 2:12 PM
The launching, which brought farmers, NGOs, and government officials together, was organised by the regional agricultural directorate of West Coast Region at the Wellingara Model Horticultural Centre.
FASDEP is a Gambia government and the African Development Bank funded project to be implemented within a five-year period.
The development objective of the project is to reduce rural household poverty, increase food security and prevent malnutrition through increased agricultural production, productivity and commercialization.
The specific objectives of the project are to increase food and nutrition security and household incomes, particularly for vulnerable households and to stimulate inclusive growth of the Gambian economy through employment opportunities for the teeming and active youthful population.
The project components include improving agriculture, infrastructure development and management, agricultural production, diversification and commercialization, as well as improving approaches to national food and nutritional security and project management and capacity.
In his welcome remarks on the occasion, the regional director of agriculture for West Coast Region, Ousman Jammeh, implored the project implementation unit and implementing agencies to continue awareness creation and sensitization, on the opportunities and implementation pathways that the project was premised on, so that the beneficiaries will be able to optimally benefit and eventually better their lives.
He also went on to say the project team must endeavour to share information, ensure transparency among the project team, the implementing agencies and beneficiaries with regards to all relevant key aspects of the project.
“This will engender common understanding, ensure a leveled playing field as well as ease implementation of project activities,” he said.
He also advised the implementing agencies to ensure that facilities that will be established are functional and being used, they should deliver appropriate levels of benefits, in terms of quality, quantity, convenience, comfort, continuity, affordability, efficiency, equity, reliability and health.
In his official launching statement on behalf of the governor of the West Coast Region, Alhagie Bakary Jaiteh, the deputy governor, said FASDEP and a series of existing agricultural projects in the country are a clear manifestation of the Gambia government’s commitment to achieve stable economic growth, food self-sufficiency and security, as enshrined in the national development blueprint called PAGE.
Working in isolation will lead to the shying away of important stakeholders and poor project implementation, he warned.
He advised the implementing agencies to work hand in glove with all the stakeholders at all stages of the project implementation process.
The project director, Fafanding Fatajo, said the Gambia government under the leadership of President Yahya Jammeh has put in place a consistent set of broad policies and measures to accelerate agricultural production, boost overall sector performance and strengthen exports and trade.
According to him, the forum would avail participants the opportunity to broaden their understanding as to the rules and procedures governing the implementation of the project.
He disclosed that CRR, LRR and WCR are the three targeted intervention areas of the FASDEP project.