In a statement delivered on her behalf by Mariam Njie during a convergence on Wednesday to validate documents developed by FAO in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, she said:
“The National Horticultural Sector Master Plan (NHSMP) was formulated through a participatory process involving key stakeholders of the agriculture sector at national, regional, district and local levels. The NHSMP is consistent with The Gambia National Agricultural Investment Plan 2011-2015 (GNAIP), which is aligned fully with the national goals of Vision 2020, and aims to improve the commercialisation of the sector, while at the same time increasing national food, nutrition, income security and reducing poverty.
The development of the NHSMP is equally consistent with FAO’s mandate under its strategic objective 2, which seeks to increase and improve provision of good and services from agriculture, forestry and fisheries in a sustainable manner. The horticulture sector makes an important contribution to farm incomes, food security, nutrition improvements and economic growth and is given a high priority by The Gambia government in its export-oriented and diversification policy.”
She added: “Developing the horticulture master plan will enable the government to catalyse horticultural sector development that will improve livelihoods and food security of the people of The Gambia. Horticulture is an important sub-sector that can exploit the potential of the country particularly the underutilised arable land and River Gambia.
This sub-sector has been identified as one of the priority sectors in the Agriculture and Natural Resource Policy, Country Programme Framework of the FAO, the National Export Strategy (2013), and offers important opportunities for the diversification of the agricultural sector. It also has the potential to become an important source of exchange earnings for The Gambia. The sector is expanding, albeit slowly, and fetching relatively better income.”
Dr Kalala said the farm management book proffers information regarding the performance of a cropping production system in the form of input-output ratios, cost, returns and profitability. She further elucidated:
“This handbook can be useful for policy planners, researchers, advisors and extension agents, teachers, students and farmers. The policy planner, for instance, has to take into account the likely farm level impact of a new policy or proposed adjustment to existing ones.
In his remarks, Sheriffo Bojang, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture stated:
“The documents, if validated will contribute to the development of the country’s horticulture. Horticulture is a potential source of employment. This national initiative will not only shape the land map of the agriculture, but also increase income for many households; in particular the rural settlements.”]]>