By Olimatou Coker
Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO recently validated a consultancy report on the contribution of national fisheries and aquaculture policies including strategies to food and nutritional security in The Gambia.
The validation was facilitated by FIRST – the Food and Nutrition Security Impact, Resilience, Sustainability and Transformation programme– a policy assistance mechanism in support of improved food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture in the selected priority countries, territories, and sub-regional organisations.
Sira Njie, FAO programme officer, said the validation was done within frameworks of the integrated and coordinated Ecowas regional fisheries and aquaculture policy.
She said the FIRST initiative is a partnership programme between FAO and the EU.
“It aims to provide a political assistance mechanism to improve food and nutrition security with a view to contributing to the achievement of the FAO strategic objectives and to contribute to the eradication of hunger, food insecurity, malnutrition, intensify and sustainably improve the provision of goods and services through agriculture, forestry and fisheries.”
Ms Njie said the ultimate goal is to set up a regional fisheries and aquaculture policy in Ecowas countries to fight hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
She reaffirmed FAO’s commitment to supporting the government in its “noble fight against hunger, malnutrition and poverty in The Gambia”.
Lang Darboe, deputy permanent secretary, ministry of fisheries, said his ministry continues to give high priority to the development of the fisheries sector.
“…The role of the sector in economic and social development of the country cannot be over emphasised since it relates to employment creation particularly for Gambian youths, generation of revenue and foreign exchange earnings, contribution to food and nutrition security and poverty alleviation. Thus, the empowerment of women and youth who account for more than 60 percent of the post-harvest sector is highly needed.
“I strongly believe that you will all be meticulous in your review of the document so that at the end of the day the product will be satisfactory as a guiding tool in the implementation of our national development strategies,” Darboe stated.