He told journalists during his two-day official visit to The Gambia: “This is an official visit in response to the invitation by the president of the Republic of The Gambia. I will have interactions with the president and the vice-president as well as convey our full support to the development plans particularly in the area of agriculture. We want to give our support to the president in his Vision 2016 which aims to ensure that The Gambia is sufficient in rice production. We also want to lend our support to the National Agricultural Investment Plan of The Gambia. As you know Ifad has been working and supporting The Gambia since 1982 and I think it is just proper for us to again insist on the centrality of agriculture in The Gambia because it has an agricultural-based economy. I cannot disclose all the topics to be discussed but essentially Ifad invests in rural people and our message is very simple. If you want to achieve inclusive sustainable development, you have to invest in the rural areas. You have to invest in rural transformation because these areas are central to overall national development. The Gambia imports 50 per cent of its food which means it only produces 50 per cent. If you want to grow your economy and create opportunities for small producers who make up the majority of the farmers in this country they have to have access to inputs, land and financial services.”
Mr Nwanze said that his organisation seeks to promote development in the country especially in the rural areas through agriculture. He noted that various partners have been working with Ifad to support agricultural projects to boost the country’s economy.
“I also intend to encourage the private sector to invest in agriculture particularly in small producers. In brief, this is to confirm Ifad’s long term commitment in associating itself with the development agenda of The Gambia. We do have a programme that is current which has to do with investment in land and water management which is called the National Agricultural Land and Water Management Development Project (Nema). It also has investment by way of financing, by government, the World Bank and the African Development Bank. This is a programme that addresses the most important aspects of the agricultural investment development plan of The Gambia. We do envisage that going forward my institution is known for long term agricultural investment in member states.”]]>