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City of Banjul
Saturday, June 15, 2024

Reaping the rewards of agricultural investment, better productivity, improving lives

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There are positive trends and signs of addressing malnutrition at GEF-funded Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change Project (AACCP) intervention areas in The Gambia.

From the North Bank Region to the Upper River Region, heart-to-heart testimonies from poultry farms and community gardens attest to FAO’s support in producing various nutritious products for the benefit of households.

FAO visited among other communities, Kwonkuba, where FAO’s support is evident and confirmed by community members.

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“Thanks to FAO Gambia, we have a road which makes it easy for the community ambulance to transport patients to the nearest referral health facility, they also supported us with milling machines, power tillers, and other farm implements.” a happy Jalamang Touray disclosed.

The village is also home to an AACCP-supported Poultry Farm which generates income and protein for the beneficiaries. The farm is integrated with a Vegetable Garden supplying it with compost manure to ensure the healthy growth of vegetables. The garden benefits 358 people, most of whom are women. Each member D500 to the village account every year contributing to a working capital amount of D179,000.

The amount raised and any profits derived are used for the development of the village including investing in the community garden.

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“The project gave us a solid chain-link fence, a borehole, a solar and reticulation systems, however due to the size of the garden and the number of people working here, we also took it upon ourselves to erect additional reticulation systems, to provide easy access to water in other parts of the garden,” Touray said.

The community efforts confirm the commitment to taking ownership of every support they receive and the evidence is in the amount of over D20 million generated in the 2022 harvest.

“Last year, we generated about D12.5 million from bitter tomato sales, D2.5 million from onion sales, and D5.1 million from the sale of mint cumulatively from the garden,” he stated.

The other beneficiaries at the garden, expressed heartwarming feelings of gratitude and contentment in the project and the numerous benefits it brought to them, with a promise of growth.

“We are lost for words, FAO changed the way we grow our crops, they taught us how to preserve compost manure and its use on our vegetables. This improved our yield and customer base because many people from other places prefer to buy from us. Our produce is organic and can be credited for the huge profit we all generate from the garden,” Tamara Tambajang, one of the gardeners said.

The number of harvests and record sales at the visited AACCP-supported sites is memorable, relatable, and inspiring success stories, not to mention their sustenance, better production, environment and a better life.  However more needs to be done to support the committed farmers in marketing their products.

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