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Gambia Celebrates World Food Day

Oct 23, 2008, 6:07 AM | Article By: Nfamara Jawneh

The Gambia on Wednesday, October 21st celebrated the World Food Day at a colourful ceremony held at Buffer Zone in Tallinding. The theme for this year is "World Food Security: Challenges of Climate Change and Bio-energy (bio-fuels)".

In a statement delivered on her behalf by Mr.Buba Khan, The Action Aid Country Director, Dr.Kujejatou Manneh Jallow, said that the severity and scale of the global food crisis is not a secret to all. She said that before the current food crisis, over 850 million went to bed hungry every day and one child every five seconds dies of hunger-related causes. "The World Bank estimates that the figure of 80 million hungry people could rise by a further 100 million this year and the poorest of the poor who spend two-thirds or more of their income on food will be hardest hit, the majority of whom are women". According to her, reports indicate that The Gambia is one of the most vulnerable countries in the sub-region this is because the bulk of the food needs (particularly rice) we consume are supplied through imports.

She said that the country must prepare herself by ensuring long term food security by producing enough food to feed the population. She expressed confidence that if women farmers are given the necessary support that they deserve they can feed the world.

Mr. Baba Gana Amadou, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Representative to The Gambia, delivered the statement from the FAO Director. "There is indeed, a need to address the growing food demand due to the increasing populations economic progress in emerging countries and competition in the bio energy sector when supply is affected by climate change and declining stocks. FAO boss further stressed that climate change affects every one but the poorest regions are already its first victims and their situation is likely to be risen in the next decades.

Siting in for the vice president, Mr. Bakary Trawally, Permanent Secretary for Agriculture, said world food security affects every body.  The government, he said, has demonstrated its will to change The Gambia into a food secure country. "We are expecting a phenomenal increase in production this year, all grains from 138,000 metric tonnes we are expecting 192,000 metric tonnes". On rice, he said the production is expected to rise from 10,000 to 27,000 metric tonnes and groundnut to increase from 72,000 to 105,000 metric tonnes. This, he said, is made possible through the president's personal commitment and demonstration; distribution of little imputes to those who need it, Gods own blessing on The Gambia by giving us enough rain and the people's responds to president's call to go back to the land.

Meanwhile, as part of the event  Mrs. Aja Say Panneh on behalf of women farmers presented a petition banner collected from Gambian women by Actioniad led hunger free campaign caravan to the Speaker of the national assembly through Hon. Momodou Touray NAM for Baddibu Central. The banner fills with signatures of governors, chiefs, alkalolu, women and other local authorities is advocating for the need to women to own and control land that they farm and have greater access to the necessary imput.

The occasion was graced by Mrs. Fatou Jassey Kujateh permanent secretary office of vice president and secretaries of states. The celebrations ended with a lightening of candles.

Mrs.Jainaba Nyang Njie, Women's Right's Manager Action aid chaired the ceremony.