With Omar Bah
The National Coordinating Organization for Farmer Association the Gambia, NACOFAG recently held a daylong consultation forum on The Gambia National Agriculture Investment Plan (GNAIP) Second Generation at the FASDEP office in Cape Point, Bakau.
The objective amongst others was to advance the role of farmers, youths and civil society organizations on the formulation, implementations of the GNAIP second phase linking the attainment, challenges and recommendations of the first phase towards the way forward going into the second phase.
The forum also avails NACOFAG, government and partners to consult on the processes of the second generation Gnaip December 2017.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the coordinator NACOFAG Alieu Sowe said the meeting is vital to availed farmers and stakeholders to discuss on the progress made in the Gnaip project first phase and their expectation in the second phase.
He said although lot of strives have been made in the first phase of the Gnaip, “there is still lot more to be desired especially when it comes to involvement of the farmers in the hearts of the decision making processes.”
Mr Sowe also updates the participants on the process under review for proper implementation by all the relevant stakeholders.
The GNAIP programme, he added, is set on a five-year plan so as to help meet the target desire of farmer organizations in general and farmers in particular.
He called on the farmers to be more vigilant towards achieving the desired goals in the Gnaip project.
The first, he said, is to address concerns in the formulation of GNAIP second generation and to further explore from the records of the first generations.
The deputy director general department of agriculture, Sariyan Jobarteh said the Gnaip project is all inclusive and the involvement of women and youths is the key to unlocking the potentials in the agric sector.
He said without the involvement of the youths in agriculture, it is going to be very difficult to make any significant strive in the country’s development efforts towards agriculture.
Youths, he said, including women are the key drivers and that bringing them in the process of formalizing Gnaip is a very significant step in a very good direction, “there is hope in our effort to developed agriculture and I believe together we can achieve our goals.”
He said every player in the agric-sector, in the new dispensation should be committed toward ensuring that the much desired goals in the agric sector are achieve before they leave office.
Mr Jobarteh assured the farmers that their concerns and needs will be listen to at all times to ensure that their concerns are addressed adequately.
Meanwhile, Lamin S. Fadera of Gnaip who spoke on behalf of the young people said no country can sustain its development without having a sustainable agric sector to ensure food self-sufficiency.
Mr Fadera said it is high-time that the ministry of agriculture to start recognizing Gnaip and all farmer organisations as vital players in the drive to achieving food self-sufficiency.
He said all hands should be on desk to ensure that agriculture is given its due, this, Fadera added can only be achieve if young people are provided new opportunities for making agriculture more interesting for them.
“It is difficult to engage youth in agriculture, in many ways, because they are not very much interested in continuing in agriculture because they don’t see much prospect in the future of agriculture, they do not see it as an active profession in the long-run,” he said.
He said one way of addressing that is to train them and give them opportunities to access ICTs so that they can engage in value chains.
“There are many challenges ahead for the sector but if young people are offered education in agriculture, a voice at policy level, and are engaged with innovations then the agriculture industry can attract youth again. As we look to find solutions to be food self-sufficiency,” he added.
Alhagie Basse Mboge, the president of the National Farmers Platform welcomed the idea; he urged government to be critical on the issues raised by the farmers and to come up with a solution that will suit the farmer organizations.
Sheriff Sanyang, director of urban agric business said the forum is timely, he said it is high-time that the young people take the lead in agriculture if the desire goals in the sector will have any chance to be realise in the not too long distance future.
He called for the full collaboration of all the relevant stakeholders for the successful and mutual benefits of the country.
The president of livestock’s association, Ebrima Jallow called on government to redouble their efforts towards empowering farmers.
He said farmers should be given their rightful positions they deserved, especially when it comes to decision making.
Mariama Mass the president of the national food processors said the need for government to start listing to the farmers and stop making decision on their behalf.
The Gambia National Agricultural Investment Plan (GNAIP) is the medium-term (2011-2015) strategic plan of the Government of The Gambia (GOTG) towards achieving the vision for the agricultural and natural resources (ANR) sector and food security in the country within the framework of the New Partnership for Africa (NEPAD) Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).
It is aligned fully with the national goals of Vision 2020, and supports the realization of main national strategic programmes, including the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper II (PRSP II 2007-2011) and the ANR Sector Policy (2010).
The proposed interventions are expected to achieve at least eight percent growth in the agricultural sector in The Gambia and this combined with accelerated non-agricultural growth could stimulate the level of growth needed in the sector to transform the country’s rural areas and to significantly reduce poverty levels.
The GNAIP formulation process was highly consultative and participatory from the grassroots at village level to the highest level policy making body at national level through district, regional and national consultative meetings.
There were also consultations with ECOWAS and its specialized institutions to ensure that the document is consistent with the CAADP pillars.
The Overall Goal of GNAIP is achieving an increased contribution of the ANR sector to the national economy by improving productivity through commercialization and active private sector participation predicated on a sound national macroeconomic framework aimed at enhanced growth and poverty reduction.
To meet this goal, the Development Objective of GNAIP is increased food and nutritional security and household incomes including for vulnerable households through increased ANR production, productivity and marketed output, based on sustainable use and management of natural resources in support of national goals of poverty reduction and improved livelihoods.
The GNAIP has six strategic programmes: Programme 1: Improved Agricultural Land and Water Management aims to increase food security, income generating capacity and nutritional status of the farmer beneficiaries especially women and youth through the use of sustainable land and water management practice for the cultivation of 25,000 ha of land.
The Programme comprises three components: (i) Lowland Development for Rice Production; (ii) Irrigation for Horticulture and Upland Crops; and (iii) Capacity Building of Support Services Institutions. Programme 2: Improved Management of the Other Shared Resources aims to improve livelihoods and food security, and reduce poverty of populations that depend on The Gambia’s other shared natural resources (including rangelands, forests, fisheries, parks and wildlife) through sustainable management and use of these resources. The Programme comprises three components: (i) Management of Rangelands and Organization of Transhumance; (ii) Sustainable Management of Forest Resources; and (iii) Ensuring Sustainable Management of Fisheries Resources.
Costs and Financing
Total programme costs over the five-year period (2011-2015) are estimated at USD 296.7 million.
Taking into account existing projects and programmes implemented by Government or outside the Government that will directly support GNAIP, the estimated financing gap over the five-year period amounts to USD 201 million.
Sources of financing for the GNAIP include: (i) Government Budget (with an expected increase of ANR Sector budget to 10 percent of total budget by 2015); (ii) the Beneficiaries; (iii) Micro-Finance Institutions including the Village Savings and Credit Associations (VISACAs), National Association of Cooperative Credit Unions (NACCUG) and Social Development Fund (SDF) among others.
Benefits and beneficiaries
Numerous economic, social, environmental and institutional benefits are expected from the GNAIP programmes.