By Omar Bah
The Food and Agriculture Organisation, the Global Environment Facility, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, recently concluded an inception workshop for adapting agriculture to climate change at a local hotel in Senegambia.
The project is funded by GEF at the tune of US$6.3 million (equivalent to D277 million).
In her opening statement, the FAO Country Representative Perpetua Katepa Kalala, said Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change Project seeks to strengthen Government’s efforts towards better responding to the climate risks, promote adaptation measures at the local level to reduce economic losses and diversify and strengthen livelihoods.
She said the project aims to reduce climate change risks and vulnerabilities in a cost-efficient way to deliver adaptation benefits and that the project will follow the results based management and programmatic approach of GEF/LDCF in addressing climate change adaptation on the ground.
The FAO representative stated that the project is funded in the sum of USD6, 288,356.00, and will be implemented over a four-year period in ten districts covering three administrative regions.
She said the project will be intervening in the following regions and districts: North Band Region namely- Upper Niumi, Jokadu, Lower Baddibou, Central Baddibou and Sabach Sanjal.
Three districts in Central River Region – Upper Saloum, Niani, and Sami and two districts in Upper River region north – Wuli and Sandu.
The FAO Country rep further stated that these are some of the areas where adverse climate event is highly endemic compared to other regions in the country.
She said the project is estimated to benefit 2,500 farm households or 20,000 farmers through community gardens, 250 households or 2000 farmers with knowledge on value addition, 50 households or 400 farmers with honey production and 30 poultry producer associations of which 70% are women beneficiaries.
The FAO rep. further stressed that the project will support the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) to conduct research activities, to release and distribute drought tolerant crop varieties of findi, cassava, sweet potato among others benefitting 1,500 households or 12,000 farmers.
“Livestock is another very important component and is equally dear to the FAO and occupies center stage in our programs and activities. In that case, the project will establish 10 deferred grazing areas. One in each intervention district, reseed with multi-purpose grass/legume species” she stated.
She said the project will establish 10 intensive feed gardens, with one in each district, as well as 6 livestock watering points in the 3 regions.
“Our livestock particularly during the dry season in some instances, trek more than five (5) kilometers daily to get to fresh water points, the toll of which on their health and security is high leading perhaps to poor production of both meat and milk,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources Lamin B. Dibba, said the unregulated and non-sustainable use of the natural resource base, has negatively impacted on the natural wealth of the country.