By Alagie Manneh
The Vice President of The Gambia has called for ‘more and better’ agricultural investment in ‘overlooked’ rural women’s lives, saying it is the only pathway for prosperity, food and nutrition security.
Women contribute 40% of the total agricultural production in the country.
“Yet rural women’s rights, contributions and priorities have often been overlooked in national planning, programming and budgeting processes,” Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang told stakeholders at a validation meeting Tuesday.
She said sustainable agricultural development would remain a fleeting reality unless women are placed at the centre of agricultural growth and transformation.
“It is my strong belief that to lead The Gambia to pathway of peace and prosperity, food and nutrition security, and sustainable agriculture in the context of climate change, we need to step up our investment in rural women who play a critical role in feeding the nation,” she said.
Despite ‘encouraging milestones registered’ by her government in empowering rural women and girls, the vice president agrees more needs to be done.
“We need to do better to address the remaining gender disparities in the agricultural and rural sectors highlighted in the country gender profile we are reviewing today.”
The forum, held at the Kairaba Hotel, aims to validate the country’s Gender Assessment of the Agricultural and Rural Sectors.
FAO rep Perpetua Katepa Kalala, whose organisation is jointly undertaking the assessment with the Ecowas commission within the framework of their Technical Cooperation project, said the Gender Assessment provides ‘very useful reference to inform the implementation and monitoring of such frameworks with stronger attention to gender.’
“It also gives valuable inputs to the country periodic reporting on the convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Violence against Women [CEDAW],” she said.
Madam Kalala reiterates the FAOs ‘strong commitment’ to support the government in addressing gender gaps highlighted in the report.