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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

FAO provides D23.4M to support MoA 

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By Olimatou Coker 

Dr. Mustapha Ceesay, assistant  FAO country representative, said the Food and Agricultural  Organization has provided  23.4 million dalasis to support the Ministry of Agriculture to embark on a venture that will help them foster program partnership to accelerate growth and development in the sector.

Dr. Ceesay made these remarks on Thursday during a technical cooperation program workshop organized  by FAO in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and various relevant stakeholders.

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The day-long inception meeting was held at Sir Dawda Jawara International Conference Center.

The Gambia stands as a priority beneficiary country on the FAO’s Hand in Hand Initiative (HIH), which targets regions grappling with poverty and food insecurity.

The primary objective of this workshop is to inaugurate the technical cooperation program (TCP) to foster an inclusive dialogue amongst stakeholders.

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Through collaborative efforts, the aim is to chart a comprehensive roadmap, identify potential partners, and delineate the sector’s priorities that will be pivotal in steering the TCP towards its envisioned goals.

The significance of this workshop cannot be overstated, as it signifies a concerted effort towards sustainable agricultural development, leveraging evidence-based approaches and indigenous expertise.

The workshops also serve as a platform for key stakeholders within the agricultural sector to converge through deliberations, the outcomes of the inception workshop are poised to yield dividends, enhancing the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in the Gambia.

FAO’s assistant  country representative, also  underscores the significance of the HIH  initiative:

“The Hand In Hand program is a result of a request led by the Minister of Agriculture honorable Demba Sabally to the director general of FAO, FAO provided 23.4 million  dalasis to support the Minister of Agriculture to embark on a venture that will help foster global partnership to accelerate growth and development in the agricultural sector. This partnership venture is called the Hand in Hand Initiatives as the name implies  the HIH is a targeted and collective all hands on deck action to a sustainable agriculture  transformation,” he said. 

Dr. Ceesay  lamented the adverse impact of climate change on agriculture, reaffirming FAO steadfast support for the Gambia agricultural sector through the HIH Initiative.

He said through the  Hand In Hand initiative, FAO will work together with its member countries to ensure that all these advances are brought together in a consolidated and comprehensive approach to benefit Gambia agriculture.

Their collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture aims to expedite agri food systems transformations, targeting poverty eradication, hunger alleviation and inequality reduction,

 Dr. Saikou Sanyang, Deputy Permanent Secretary the Ministry of Agriculture,  emphasized the timeliness and relevance of these interventions.

He said HIH aims to minimize risk and optimize benefits by enhancing productive capacities and agro systems to new market opportunities and strengthening the capabilities of the value chain stakeholders to effectively participate in the existing market.

He added that the overall objective of this inception workshop is to improve the livelihoods of their smallholder farmers diverscation of different crops.

Representing the Minister of Agriculture, Fatou Jammeh-Touray, deputy permanent secretary for projects and programs, reiterated the ministry’s unwavering commitment to implementing the initiative. 

She also stressed  the urgency to overhold  the government’s food systems.

“What we  need at the moment is collective efforts to be able to mobilize enough resources to take care of the tasks that we have set for ourselves towards this. It is our initiative, we requested and it is honored  by the FAO but we still reiterate our commitment.” She added that they will do what is necessary to make this a success.

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