Gafna, others look to champion welfare of refugees in agriculture

Gafna, others look to champion welfare of refugees in agriculture

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By Olimatou Coker

The Gambia Food and Nutrition Agency (Gafna), last Wednesday struck a partnership with the agriculture, livestock, and water resources departments to enhance the livelihoods and wellbeing of refugees through agricultural activity.

Yusupha J Gomez, the executive director of Gafna, underscored the importance of such partnerships, saying it will strengthen the capacity of the refugees in the country. He said through gardening, livestock and other farming activities, refugees can get on with life in The Gambia.

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“We deem it necessary to improve on our   collective efforts towards the development of refugees. Together, we can make The Gambia a haven for refugees,” he said.

He thanked those communities that allowed for the integration of refugees for their tolerance and applauded the UNHCR’s “tremendous contribution to the welfare of refugees in The Gambia”.

Dr Sheiku E Sanyang, the director general of agriculture, described the initiative as timely and significant. He said that it is a way forward to expanding agricultural activities to everyone living in The Gambia.

He pledged the continuous support of his office towards the success of the programme. “We will continue supporting refugees to improve their livelihoods through agricultural means,” he assured.

Dr Abdou Ceesay, the director of the Department of Livestock Services, said the signing of the partnership in the form of an MoU, would contribute immensely to boosting the status of refugees in The Gambia.

Dr Lamin Mai Touray, the director of the Department of Water Resources, reiterated government’s commitment to encouraging women and youth to tap into aquaculture as a business enterprise. He said refugees must not be left behind in that drive.

He added: “We are supporting and encouraging them to be committed. We assured them that our doors are open, and we are ready to give them all the necessary assistance required.”