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Sep 7, 2012, 12:09 PM
The Ministry of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment (MOTIE) in collaboration with various stakeholders recently launched the Gambia Cashew and Sesame Sector Development Strategy at their main office in Banjul.
It was funded by the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) programme and implemented by the International Trade Center (ITC) in collaboration with MOTIE.
The ITC director of programmes, Ashih Shah, said the project aims to build the competitiveness of the sesame, cashew and groundnut sector, build a strategy for inclusive tourism and assist in key areas crucial for building The Gambia’s competitiveness namely trade information and quality managing.
Since 2012, ITC had been supporting the implementation of trade related EIF projects in several LDCs including in The Gambia, Cambodia, Nepal, Lesotho and Burkina Faso, he said.
The president of Cashew Alliance of The Gambia, Momodou A. Ceesay, said the cashew sector development committee, established under the sector competitiveness and export diversification project, SCEDP, was tasked with the responsibility of overseeing and coordinating the development and implementation of a sector strategy for cashew.
During the process, cashew stakeholders who were members of the committee met on several occasions to design the cashew sector strategy, he added.
Multi-stakeholder workshops were conducted to diagnose the value chain and the sector constraints, define the overall development visions of the sector and proposed strategic objectives, he further stated.
He added that the project had immensely contributed to the building of the capacities of CAG members and other cashew stakeholders.
With the setting up of a strategy implementation committee, coupled with the strengthening of the CAG, implementation of the sector strategies would be much more successful.
This would form the basis for the mobilization of funds to implement project proposals, he continued.
It was hope that these strategies when implemented would contribute positively to the rapid development of a sustainable cashew sector, that would enhance export competitiveness, raise rural income and reduce poverty, Mr. Ceesay went on.
The permanent secretary MOTIE, Naffie Barry, said the development of the strategy documents took a value chain approach, which involved a value chain analysis and diagnoses of the sector, defined the strategic orientation and development, and a detailed plan of action with clear objectives, activities, targets, measures, and roles for implementing institutions.
For the first time, the cashew and sesame sectors have a guiding document that would give better focus and structured interventions to enhance production and productivity to increase export, Mrs Barry said.
It was important to note that the sector strategies are aligned to the recommendations of the national export strategy, the Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy, The Gambia Agricultural Investment Programme, the National Trade Policy and the Diagnostic Trade Integration Study, DTIS, she added.
Mrs Barry further stated that a National Coordination Committee (NCC) had been established for each sector, which was a representative public and private body to coordinate, monitor and manage the implementation of the respective sector strategies.
However, she continued, in order to sustain the interventions and advance the development of the sectors, there was a need for support from donors, the private sector and international organization, as well as government contributions.