By Maimuna Sey-Jawo
Stakeholders from The Gambia and Senegal on Wednesday opened two days’ forum to develop the project activities plans for the Knowledge Centre for Organic Agriculture Project (KCOA) from January 2021 to December 2021. The Gambia is among countries that benefited from the project.
The 2.5 million Euros project is funded by the (GIZ) German government to be implemented in five years for 5 West African Countries namely; The Gambia, Senegal, Mali, Benin and Nigeria.
The objective of the project, officials said, among others is to introduce the knowledge hub successfully as an innovative strategy for promoting organic agriculture with actors in the regions of West, East, and Southern Africa. The convergence which brought together participants from The Gambia and Senegal was held at a local hotel in Senegambia.
The project will be led by three organizations, namely “Enda Pronat” which will be responsible for output A which will collect endogenous and scientific knowledge and validate it, while “Fenab” will be responsible for output B which will disseminate the knowledge collected through channels different, among others the digital platform and the training of trainers/multipliers).
The project officials said “Agrecol” will be responsible for output C which will animate the development of organic value chains, put actors in networks and encourage the development of markets and participatory systems SPG Guarantee.
Mahamadou Lamin Fayinkeh, the National Coordinator of the Network of Family Farming (NCC IYFF+10 The Gambia) said the objective of the forum is to capture stakeholders perspectives on the organic agriculture of ecologic to get inventory of knowledge around the issues as priorities in the resilience context.
Family Farming, he went on, play a key role in the entire value chain of food production and productivity, saying: “With the support of FAO, United Nation, IFAD The Gambia and other donors, we realize that our national, regional and beyond can be sustainable only when particular attention and support has been given to family farming commonly known in The Gambia as “Kabilo Iaa Sinkiro”.
He claimed that the project also focuses on three main action fields, ranging from; collecting/preparing knowledge in organic agriculture, dissemination of knowledge to many users and networking within agricultural value chains.
Munir Jatta, principal assistant secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture, while deputizing the Agriculture Minister, said: “The Gambia Government is focusing more on organic and Ecological agriculture (OEA). Therefore, the project comes at a time we are building the capacity of our farmers, especially in this 21st century market by a greater collective awareness around the issues of sustainable development and in this new era of digital communication. This will help to identify, validate and share the knowledge know-how of farmers on the various links of the value chain.”
“My ministry, with support from stakeholders will strengthen the policy dialogue to promote and protect the future established center on organic and ecological agriculture as well build the capacity of farmers and their organizations on organic farming.”
The government, Mr. Jatta added, is making an effort to partner with private sectors, NGO, CSOs as well media houses, with the objectives of advocating on issues relating to Gambia farmers at higher level of decision making. The Gambia government, he said, “fully supports organic farming, pastoralism and fisheries”.
Ebrima Seck, a participant from Senegal, underscored the significance of the forum, while commended the two neighbouring countries for their collaboration. Mr. Seck spoke highly on the importance of organic farming in promoting agricultural production and productivity in the beneficiary’s countries.