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Gambia hosts sub-regional forum on food security

Dec 9, 2011, 2:03 PM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

The International Food Security Network West Africa (IFSN) recently convened its 2nd meeting in The Gambia.

The theme of the two-day forum held at the Baobab Hotel, was “Meeting the challenges of food security in West Africa through sustainable Agricultural development”.

According to organisers, the objective of the meeting was to create learning and sharing forum on how sustainable agriculture can be a solution to the challenges of food insecurity in West Africa.

The meeting also highlighted IFSN activities and challenges in member countries in West Africa and presentations on diverse issues on sustainable agriculture.

In her remarks at the opening of the forum, the regional IFSN coordinator in The Gambia, Marie Adams, told participants at the forum that agriculture is the backbone of most economies in developing countries.

Madam Adams said the agric sector represents an opportunity for more equitable and just distribution of income, power and responsibility, to be a real alternative for farmers’ autonomy thus empowering women farmers.

She asserted that ActionAid, through its human rights-based approach to development, has included sustainable agriculture as one of the integral components of its goal to ensure poor people have sovereignty over their food and production system.

West Africa is heavily dependent on food import to meets its food security needs and there has been rising level of food aid. This is not only unsustainable, but poses series food security concern,” she lamented.

She asserted that goodwill and support to agriculture has improved. African governments through the comprehensive African agriculture development programmes have committed themselves to investing in agriculture.

As a principle, they are committed to an agriculture-led economic growth as the main strategy of achieving the MDGs on reducing hunger and poverty.

She said the way forward to tackle hunger and poverty, the approach in enhancing productivity and trade is to focus on the most important food security, which is staple food such as maize, rice and sorghum.

She added that the potential of this sector in Africa is largely unexplored yet animal products are important food security commodities.

She also said that value chains have to be organised to promote these commodities and there will be need for a multi-sectoral approach that should involve research, extension and all stakeholders in food security, especially producers.

Other speakers on the occasion included Lamin Nyangado and Mamadou Wuri Jallow both from Action Aid-The Gambia.

They hailed the organisers of the event, which they believe would boost the sharing of knowledge and understanding of participants in harmonizing food security.

Meanwhile, the participants attending the meeting were drawn from Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ghana and The Gambia.