Speaking on the theme “International year of family farming” in his World Food Day address, Solomon Owen declared: “Both in the developing and developed countries, family farming is the predominant form of agriculture in the food production sector. In The Gambia, agriculture remains central to the national economy. The livelihood and nutritional security of an incredibly large number of family farms is linked to agriculture. Over 75 % of the rural population derives their livelihood from this sector. To make farming more remunerative and to transform family farmers into entrepreneurs, the introduction of low cost technologies, increased incentives and favourable policies are necessary.
This is the time to stimulate active policies that are sustainable and environmentally-friendly in the development of our agricultural systems, based on family farms and farmer cooperatives .In The Gambia, programmes such as The Gambia National Agricultural investment Plan and vision 2016 are setting the pace for the much needed boost to the productivity of our major crops, with emphasis on our major staple rice”.
The director of FAO, Jose Graziano da Silva said: “Family farmers play a crucial socio-economic, environmental and cultural role which, amid serious challenges, have to be cherished and strengthened through innovation. Around 500 million of the world’s 570 million farms are run by families. They are the main caretakers of our natural resources. As a sector, they form the world’s largest employer, supply more than 80 percent of the world’s food in terms of value, and are often the main producers of fresh food and prosper in diary, poultry and pig production.
“In The Gambia over 90 percent of farms are run by families, they provider 60% of the food for the family, care and protect our natural resources. Yet many family farmers, especially subsistence producers, are part of the 70 percent of the world’s food insecure population who live in rural areas. This means that family farmers still have a great potential they can fulfill with the right support.”]]>