By Olimatou Coker
ActionAid International The Gambia (AAITG), in partnership with Njawara Agricultural Training Centre (NATC) is implementing a D2.7 million project that will support 100 vulnerable smallholder farmers in The Gambia.
The three-year project that AAITG is to implement is funded by the European Union as part of of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) phase 1 to The Gambia.
Speaking, Omar Badjie, the Executive Director of AAITG, said the project is entitled “promoting agro-ecology and eco-restoration practices in southern, central river and north bank regions of The Gambia”. The main objectives of the project are to contribute to job creation and food security for women and youth and scale up their adaptive capacities on sustainable agriculture and climate change through agro- ecology and eco-restoration practices.
“In our drive to building resilience, the project is aimed at supporting 100 vulnerable farmers, mostly women and youth, to establish small ruminants and poultry production schemes within their communities worth over 2.7 million dalasis. In the same vein, we have recently supported 30 communities to establish seed and cereal banking schemes with 96 tones of assorted seeds and cereals worth over 2.7 million dalasis which is also part of the resilience building and enhance adaption mechanisms for smallholder farmers to cope with the impact of climate change,” he said.
He said the project will strengthen the adaptation capabilities of women and youth and their organisations to be able to withstand shocks and impact of climate change through climate resilient sustainable agriculture (CRSA).
Hon. Amie Fabureh, the Minister of Agriculture, said the government of the Gambia is committed to enhancing production and productivity of local farmers especially at these trying moments with Covid-19.
She added that her ministry has been committed for many years to work with many key stakeholders in supporting and promoting agro-ecology in various regions.
“The project is aligned with our sector’s policies and strategies, the NDP (2018_2021) and SGDs especially SDG goal 1. end poverty, 2. end hungry and achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture and decent work and economic growth, promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all,” she said.
Attila Lajos, EU Ambassador to The Gambia, highlighted that, at the start of 2017 the EU took the decision to allocate 20.5 MEUR from the 11th EDF to The Gambia for a programme entitled “Agriculture for Economic Growth and Food Security/ Nutrition to mitigate migration flows”.
Ambassador Lajos said that the programme aims to create growth and employment opportunities, in particular for women and youth, through improved agricultural productivity as well as access to food, whilst at the same time increasing most vulnerable smallholder participation in agricultural value chain.
“The programme also recognises there is a need for enhanced agriculture and food security information system, as well as crisis management and prevention to build resilience of rural communities,” he said.
He added that, in so doing, the programme is expected to reduce migration flows, especially to EU. The programme is being carried out in NBR, CRR, LRR and URR.