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NAWFA coordinator speaks

Apr 1, 2011, 3:53 PM | Article By: Isatou Senghore

Fatou Samba-Njie, the coordinator of National Women Farmers Association (NAWFA), recently granted an interview to SHE SHE SHE.

During the interview, Madam Njie said the association was formed in 1999, and has grown in size with a membership base of 48000, all women.

She said they have their members in 174 kafos, 74 clusters coming from15-20 villages per cluster. The members grow mainly sesame and they have been operating a Sesame Growers Association (SGA) also country-wide.

Their main crop is sesame, but the women are also engaged in cultivating other crops like rice, maize, millet, sorghum, vegetables, poultry and small ruminants production.

They collaborate with the departments of Agriculture, Livestock, Community Development and, hopefully, the Women’s Bureau.

NAWFA women were trained on production, controlling post harvest losses, oil processing, packaging and labeling, advocacy and lobbing groups, management and leadership, agro enterprise development, and market information system.

Some of them were also trained on literacy and numeracy for self management, that is, the use of the scale, as well as for them to know the way to use a calculator and also how to use their mobile phones; and to be able to understand numbers.

She went on to say that the women were also given 2000 farm implements by NAWFA on loan without interest.

SHE SHE SHE - What are your constraints?

Madam Njie - One constraint relating to the membership, which is very large, is how to train all of them. It is very difficult to do so, because of accessibility, funding and the vehicle NAWFA has, which is very old, at a time when NAWFA is in a transition period.

Our partners are ActionAid The Gambia, VECO Senegambia and the Community Driven Development Project (CDDP).

SHE SHE SHE – Who can be a member?

Madam Njie - any female farmer, and she should contribute D10.00 yearly.

SHE SHE SHE - How many members of staff do you have?

Madam Njie - Eight in the office, two drivers and ten extension workers in the field. NAWFA also has 30 farm field schools.

SHE SHE SHE - What advice do you have for the young girls and women?

Madam Njie - For the young girls, let them be helping their mothers in their farms and gardens and, if possible, be attending training programs. For the women, let them join hands together, share whatever information they have with their fellow group members, by conducting annual general meetings and be ready to train others, especially at the NAWFA farmer field schools.