Jan 11, 2013, 9:29 AM
Stakeholders and development partners are gathered at the Sheraton Hotel in Brufut for a two-day business meeting on the Gambia National Agricultural Investment Programme (GNAIP).
The GNAIP is the national component of the Regional Agricultural Investment Programme, which is an outcome of the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP), which is derived from the ECOWAS Agricultural Policy (ECOWAP).
The regional agricultural investment programme is a comprehensive study comprising all the national programmes of countries of the sub-region.
Speaking at the opening ceremony yesterday, Dr. Janet Edeme, a representative of the African Union, said the total cost of the 2011-2015 programme has been estimated at USD296.7 million.
"The investment plan has also identified existing projects and programmes being implemented by government or other partners that will directly support the investment plan," she stated, adding that when taken into account, the estimated funding gap is approximately USD201 million.
According to her, the African Union Commission was pleased to note that the
In declaring the forum open, the deputy Minister of Agriculture, Kalifa Kambi, underscored the importance of agriculture to this country, the region and
According to deputy minister Kambi, the objectives of the forum are to sell the GNAIP to our bilateral and multilateral partners, and secure their support in view of a healthy partnership for the development of agriculture.
In his statement, Ernest Aubi, who deputized the president of the ECOWAS Commission, said the regional integration of our economies and trade provides a great opportunity for our agriculturists, just as agriculture is an opportunity and great vehicle for the community integration process.
To adopt and implement a policy, he added, is tantamount to initiating structural changes over a ten-to twenty-year period. He stated that within twenty years, our region will be home to half a billion citizens to be fed.
"This is the daunting challenge we intend to take up jointly with all stakeholders in the region and the co-operation of the world," he added.
Development partners in this project include ECOWAS, AU, NPCA, FAO and the World Bank.