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Sub-Regional consultation meeting opens in Banjul

Sep 15, 2011, 1:55 PM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh & Halimatou Ceesay

A three-day sub-regional consultation meeting opened on Wednesday at the Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi.

The forum was organized under a CILSS consultation meeting on the agricultural and food prospects in the Sahel and in West Africa.

It was aimed at bringing together CILSS members states of the Sahel and in West Africa to share knowledge and information on agricultural and food prospects of countries represented.

The workshop brought together the countries, the specialized institution that monitors food security and the development partners, and will provide a forum for discussion on matters regarding the information provided by the countries for improving the diagnoses, and confronting the analysis on the risks of food insecurity in the region.

The objectives of the forum also include to make an assessment of the harvest for the 2011-2012 cropping season.

The meeting brought together representatives from the department of Agricultural Statistics and the Early Warning System in the CILSS and ECOWAS mechanisms in member countries and representatives, as well as development partners, who were also present.

In his welcome remarks, the permanent secretary ministry of Agriculture, Babuccar Njie, expressed delight on behalf of the President for hosting this event in The Gambia.

Every year in this very same period, he said, such a meeting gives an opportunity for many stakeholders, country officials, development partners and other stakeholders to reflect on the forecast of crop production.

In his official opening statement, on behalf of the Gambia government, the minister of Fisheries and Water Resources, Hon. Lamin Kaba  Bajo, said that the workshop was critical in the sense that it supported the review of putting up a mechanism to examine the best possible responses for addressing the food crises in the region.

“This is in line with a framework put in place by CILSS that promotes national and regional partners to regularly hold regional consultations on the monitoring and evaluation of food security, as well as a mid-term evaluation of the 2011-2012 growing season, and the agricultural food prospects in the Sahel and in West Africa.”

He further noted the Gambia government has placed more emphasis on food security as a key development agenda, and has promoted policies and programs that are responsive to regional, sub-regional, and national food security endeavours.

He added that the advent of sustainable food security in The Gambia and in all Sahelian countries in this sub-region is a necessity.

“This is why African heads of state and government have all decided to adopt the detailed program for the development of agriculture in Africa.” 

He stressed that one has to admit that despite all the efforts made a large number of people, namely Sahelian people, are still suffering from food insecurity and malnutrition, because of the persistence of environmental, socio-economic and institutional constraints.

“I am with the view that the above set of objectives cannot be attained without the full participation and commitment of participating countries present in this forum,” he said.

He also urged the participant to come up with relevant information adequate in determine future food security policy decisions and early warning on the situation of the countries of the Sahel and in West Africa.

Also speaking at the forum was the Director General of AGHRYMENT Regional Centre representing CILSS director Muhammad Ould Yayia, who said food security is a crucial development issue in West Africa.

“This is why CILSS has opted for a global approach which now included the coastal countries in its system. He said these data will make it possible to establish the regional situation in terms of harvest forecasts and the food situation in our sub region.”