May 17, 2016, 11:25 AM
The Gambia Emergency Agricultural Production Project (GEAPP) last Thursday organised a two-day sensitization forum for National Assembly Members at the Baobab Holiday Resort.
The forum was held to discuss with lawmakers the achievement, challenges and the impact of the GEAPP.
Speaking at the forum, European Union Charge d’ Affair Agnes Guillaud commended National Assembly Members for their show of commitment by attending the meeting in full force.
Their turnout shows how important agriculture and food security is considered by all the Gambian institutions, she said.
She added that despite various difficulties and the high number of stakeholders involved, the project has positive impacts on the socio-economic development of the nation, as it improves domestic food production capacities of a large part of the country and achieve food sustainability to the population.
The EU is committed to assisting The Gambia in addressing the food security issue, she said, adding: “To pursue our efforts, the EU is currently working with the Government of The Gambia, the FAO and WFP in the formulation of a new project in the framework of the EU MDG initiative to address Food Security in a very comprehensive way.
Madam Agnes Guillaud also said the GEAPP, with its great successes, is already a reference and lessons learnt through its implementation used to improve the agricultural sector in The Gambia.
“This Project is worth 5.3 million Euros – that is about 210 million GMD, which was allocated to The Gambia,” she disclosed.
Speaking at the forum, the project coordinator of GEAPP, Sheikh Tijan Sosseh, expressed delight at the response of the National Assembly Members at the forum.
He said the meeting was also held to brief them on the challenges, impact and other activities that have been carried out by GEAPP.
He said the Project Coordination Unit deems it fitting to organise such forum for the National Assembly Members who are the policymakers.
Mr Sosseh also gave an overview of the GEAPP project, saying it was an 18-month project, funded by the EU and implemented by the World Bank, to the Government of The Gambia.
For his part, World Bank Representative in The Gambia Alieu Badara Joof welcomed the participants to the forum.
He told the NAMs that GEAPP came as a result of a situation of a soaring food crisis for intervention measures.
He said it was important at that time to address those issues to avert them as a result of global financial and food crisis.
Mr Joof told the NAMs that the GEAPP has registered a lot of achievements in terms of agricultural inputs and yield at hectare level.
The World Bank is aware of the need for food security and therefore, the Bank has come up with a project that will consolidate the GEAPP called the West African Agricultural Production Project (WAAPP).
He also said the first phase of the project will run for over five years followed by a second phased that will take it to a ten -ear lifespan project.
The project will be focusing on tidal irrigation, seed multiplication and seed certification,” he said.
In his official opening remarks, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Sana Dahaba, expressed similar sentiments as Mr Joof’s and thanked the National Assembly Members for their cooperation.
He also commended the World Bank and the European Union for funding such an important project as the GEAPP in The Gambia.