26 August 2021, Banjul – Forty women farmers from three communities within the Kanifing Municipality began a three-day intensive hands-on training in vegetable production, marketing and integrated pest management at the Model Horticulture Training Centre in Wellingara on Wednesday.
The Horticulture Technical Services Unit under the Department of Agriculture (DoA) is conducting the training with support from an FAO Technical Cooperation Programme titled “Support to sustainable production & marketing of fishery and vegetable for Urban/Peri-urban women”.
The project is designed to empower women farmers in the Urban and Peri-Urban areas (namely Kanifing Municipality and Banjul). They are exposed to sustainable production practices in the fisheries and vegetable value chains to improve their livelihoods and nutrition status.
Participants come from Bakoteh, Kerr Serign and Bakau Old Cape Road Communal Gardens. It could be recalled that these Communal Vegetable Gardens received a donation of vegetable seeds and gardening tools worth over half a million dalasis from FAO on 12 August through the Horticulture Services Unit (HTS) under the DOA.
Addressing participants at the opening ceremony on Wednesday, Mr. Sariyang Jobarteh, Deputy Director General of the Department of Agriculture commended FAO for what he described as a “timely assistance and yet another important milestone in the FAO-Gambia partnership”.
He noted that FAO remains an exemplary and a true partner of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Sector of the Gambia. He further maintained that the support demonstrates FAO’s commitment to fulfill its mandate to help build a world without hunger through technical cooperation and assistance.
Mr. Jobarteh informed participants that the horticulture sub-sector is an important pillar of the national economy. He said: “This is why the Government and notable partners like FAO place high premium on the sub-sector and this is why this FAO TCP was development amongst a series of other initiatives to help enhance the productivity of the sub-sector. This is particularly important as we step up efforts to transform our food systems for the better”.
Mr. Jobarteh therefore encouraged the farmers to make good use of the opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills in good agricultural practices to help improve their food security and nutritional status, as well as increase their incomes. “This is the shared goal of the Gambian Government and FAO in this intervention”, he stressed.
In her remarks, Ms. Ramata Giggo, Director, Horticulture Technical Services, DOA explained that the objective of the training is to equip participants with the technical know-how to produce better in an innovate and smarter way to address poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition. She challenged them to participate proactively in the sessions to enable them share the knowledge and skills acquired with other members of their communities to help boost production and productivity. This will contribute to improved lives and livelihoods in the Municipality and beyond, she noted.
In his welcome remarks, Tijan Bojang from the Directorate in-charge of Urban Agriculture, commended the farmers for responding 100 percent to their invitation despite their busy schedules. He expressed optimism that the desired goal of the project would be attained if the momentum is maintained.
FAO Gambia Communications Officer
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