May 2, 2012, 2:25 PM
The national coordinator of National Alliance for Food Security (NAFS) recently organised a daylong advocacy forum on land, water, seed, natural resources and technologies management for local authorities and smallholder farmers.
Supported by ActionAid International The Gambia, the event was held at Kerewan in the North Bank Region.
Faburama Fofana said such advocacy programmes are important in soliciting the support of local authorities in accessing and owning factors of production in attaining food security.
He said there is a need to support local smallholder farmers to be effectively engaged in more meaningful food production and productivity.
Momodou Wuri Jallow, Food Rights and Resilience programme specialist at ActionAid, said studies have shown that 70 per cent of smallholder farmers contribute to the attainment of food security.
He said in view of this, it is crucial to support such farmers with land, water, seeds, natural resources and technologies.
Mr Jallow hailed the government for the Vision 2016 Agenda, saying it would contribute to diversification and resource mobilisation.
Chief Alhaji Jim Fatma Jobe of Jokadou applauded the organisers for their foresight in engaging local authorities to ensure production and productivity takes center-stage at all levels.
He also appealed for farmers to be empowered with the appropriate technologies to diversify production.
In a presentation on land and seeds situation in The Gambia, Bakary L.O. Sonko, a consultant, said recent studies have revealed that smallholder farmers have limited access to land and other production resources to enhance full scale production.
He said since women are the major producers of food crops, they should have control over productive land resources to accelerate the attainment of food security.
Nfamara Jarju, acting national coordinator of ACTIVISTA Gambia, said the organisation is committed to raise public awareness on land rights for women.
Alfred Mendy of the North Bank regional agricultural directorate said the efforts of ActionAid and NAFS are complementing the Department of Agriculture’s in the food self-sufficiency drive.