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Janjangbureh declaration by farmers of the Republic of The Gambia a the National Farmers Conference in Janjangbureh 29-30 May 2012

Jun 5, 2012, 1:38 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah


We the Farmers of the Republic of the Gambia, meeting here in Janjanbureh, in the Central River Region of the country from 29 – 30 May 2012, and with the full mandate of all the farmers of each of the Regions of the Gambia, namely: West Coast Region, North Bank Region, Central River Region both North and South, Lower River Region, Upper River Region;

HAVING regard to the great and bold initiative taken by the Honourable Minister of Agriculture, under the most distinguished leadership of His Excellency the President of The Republic Cheikh, Prof, Dr. Alhaji Yahya A J J Jammeh, specifically to set in train a process of establishing the highest national platform for dialogue between farmers and the Government, farmers and Development Partners, farmers and their institutions; 

FULLY AWARE of the efforts of the Government, through maintaining extension and technical services, mobilizing resources to implement projects, intensifying advocacy for support to the Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) sector, in order enable it to continue playing its roles and making contributions to the economy of the country as a provider of livelihoods, source of incomes, producer of supplies of the country’s staple foods, and a generator of employment;

NOW BETTER APPRAISED of the number of policy and programme frameworks the Government has established, directed to provide additional support to the ANR sector in order to raise its outputs and contribute meaningfully to the country’s development and growth;

CONSCIOUS OF the sensitive roles farmers should play to increase productivity, increase the country’s capacity to compete strongly against cheap competitive imported commodities which could be produced in the country;

CONSIDERING ALSO that the country has tremendous potential to accelerate the growth of the sector, in view of  the human and natural resource base of land, fisheries, livestock, water, forests and wildlife, and that there are technologies that could facilitate the exploitation of these resources to achieve increased production, productivity and growth;

BEARING IN MIND THE REALITY THAT farmers and producers, especially smallholders who are in the majority in the sector are still inefficient, operating with low output technologies, and inadequate support services (rainfall dependency, very limited and far-between irrigation structures, negligible or unaffordable mechanization, ad hoc support services, limited post production handling for added value and industry, very costly or no financial services for investment, weak and unprotected linkages between small holder producers and high value markets and services); 

DRAWING ATTENTION TO THE FACT that farmers and operators in general in the Agriculture and Natural Resources Sector (ANR) do not have the capacities to invest in high output technologies available in the country, and cannot access investment resources from existing services or sources, unless special conditions are established for the purpose, one such condition being the direct linkage of the farmers and operators to secure markets;

FULLY AWARE ALSO that Climate Change is having very serious negative effects and creating more uncertainties on production systems especially agriculture, livestock and forestry, these occurrences are adding to the causes of inefficiency and low performance of farmers and operators in the country;

STRONGLY RECOGNIZING the determination of the government of His Excellency the President of the Republic, Cheikh, Prof. Dr. Alhaji Yahya A J J Jammeh, and the efforts it is making to address the problems of inefficiency of farmers and low performance of the ANR sector, especially:

- Establishing the ANR Policy

- Preparing the GNAIP and making concerted efforts to mobilize resources for its implementation

- Intensifying its advocacy to various sources within and outside the country, essentially to provide additional support to the ANR sector;

- Drawing tirelessly the attention of the international community to the disastrous effects of negative weather conditions during the last planting season and the emergency situation that evolved and has seized the country since;

- Deepening its appeal to, and obtaining positive responses from the international community for assistance to mitigate the effects of the emergency and restore production capacities of farmers and producers to former levels;

- Making concerted efforts to prepare farmers for the next planting season, and the exemplary efforts to distribute 600 tractors to farmers throughout the country

- Using own resources to Rehabilitate Mixed Farming Centers and Seed Stores throughout the country;

- Providing Millions of Dalasis for purchase of groundnuts seeds for distribution to farmers for this production season; Millions of Dalasis also for fertilizers;

- Giving a tremendous boost to Aquaculture farmers in the country, by establishing a special Budget Line to extend the successful pilot schemes in Aquaculture carried out in the country;

- Supporting the Rice Expansion Programme by targeting thousands of hectares per annum over a period of at least 4 years, 

Noting all of the above,

WE THE FARMERS IN THE ANR Sector in the Gambia:

1. DECLARE our solid support for the visionary and dynamic leadership of His Excellency the President of the Republic, Cheikh, Prof, Dr. Alhaji Yahya A J J Jammeh, especially his exemplary devotion and dedication to the development of agriculture and natural resources, as manifested in the excellent and impressive setting up of the KANILAI Agricultural ventures he has personally established in the country, which have been a paragon for many to emulate;

2. DECLARE also our gratitude and appreciation through the Minister of Agriculture to the Government, under the leadership of His Excellency Cheikh, Prof, Dr. Alhaji Yahya A J J Jammeh, for the visionary initiative to organise this National Farmers conference, which was our dream, but for many reasons were not able to move it to reality and more so, that this Conference will   now chart the Way Forward to establish appropriate, transparent, accountable and democratic processes of dialogue, cooperation and collaboration between and among the stakeholders of the ANR sector, owned by and managed by us the Farmers and our associations;

3. EXPRESS sincere thanks to the Government of His Excellency the President, Chiekh, Prof, Dr. Alhaji Yahya A J J Jammeh, for the generous high level of budgetary resources made available to the agriculture sector to procure essential inputs such as groundnuts seeds and fertilizers, and more especially the securing and distribution of tractors and other farm implements throughout the country for effective mechanized farming. We faithfully pledge to apply these essential inputs to the intended purpose and vigorously protect them from unauthorised and selfish use. We however request that these inputs are provided timely, in order to ensure that their use will produce the desired results;

4. FULLY AWARE of the value of availability of technical services at farmers’ levels and in their locations, and the urgency such services are needed at all times, for advice, supervision and information in the use of improved technologies and management of enterprises, we the farmers request the Government to give added priority to, and intensify its decentralization of delivery services to the Regions and Districts of the country;  

5. REAFFIRM our commitment to our vocations in the ANRs sector, and call upon all farmers and operators to redouble their efforts to increase production, productivity and competitivity in commodities and services produced in the country, in both price and quality, and revitalise efforts to meet the targets set out in the programme frameworks the Government has set out for the sector;

6.  COMMIT OURSELVES to pursue self reliant production and productivity in our respective occupations;

7. RECOGNIZE the high importance of fertilizers in the drive to achieve increased productivity and competitivity in the staple foods of the country and the commodities for high value markets within and outside the country; consider also that farmers in the ANR sector do not appear to have the capacities to secure the commodity from the open markets, in view of their high costs;

8. RECALL the outcome of the African Union Summit on Fertilizers held in Abuja Nigeria, June 2006 where AU Member States resolved to increase fertilizer use from 8.0 kilograms to 50.0 kilograms of nutrients per hectare by 2015; further request the Government to revisit the ABUJA DECLARATION ON FERTILIZER FOR THE AFRICAN GREEN REVOLUTION, and take necessary measure to implement the Resolution contained in the Declaration, particularly clause 10 which states:

“The African Union Member States should take specific actions to improve farmers access to quality seeds, irrigation facilities, extension services, market information, and soil nutrient testing and mapping to facilitate effective and efficient use of inorganic and organic fertilizers, while paying attention to the environment”;

9. REALIZING the importance of maintaining the momentum on the process for dialogue initiated by this conference, we request that Government should, without delay set up a special Committee to initiate and carry out actions on the follow up to this Conference, especially the Declarations made in this Conference by the Farmers and Farmers Organizations, the Resolutions and Recommendations made during the Conference, and the Reports of Farmers’ Consultations held in each Region prior to, and as part of the holding of this National Farmers Conference;

10. HAVING REALIZED THE EXEMPLARY ACTIONS taken by His Excellency the President, Chiekh, Prof, Dr. Alhaji Yahya A. J. J. Jammeh in personally setting up successfully impressive agricultural farms and enterprises, and has demonstrated his commitment to improve the situation of farmers in the country, we the farmers would want to have annual consultations with His Excellency as our Chief farmer; 

11. REQUEST Development Partners and Donors to support the implementation of the outcome of this Conference held in Janjabureh 29 – 30 May 2012, and finally,

12. RESOLVE that this Farmers Conference be considered, and actions taken to declare it the highest Farmers Platform in the country and Government, with the collaboration of functioning and operational Organizations of farmers in the country take the necessary actions within 10 weeks from this day to effect its legal status, since political commitment and will to invest more in Agriculture is the key to achieving food security at the national level.