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Statement by Madam Agnès Guillaud, chargée d’affaires a.i. Delegation of the European Union to The Gambia MDG C1 launching, 18/06/2014

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According to the Gambia National Agricultural Investment Programme (GNAIP), agriculture has the potential to contribute significantly to the attainment of the MDGs in the Gambia, but the current level of productivity of the sector is well below the growth required to tackle food insecurity and poverty. Therefore, The Gambia has set a target of 6% annual growth in agricultural production in an effort to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) linked to agriculture.

As many of you may know, MDGs were officially set by the UN in 2000 when all the UN member states agreed to achieve these goals by the year 2015.

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However, by 2010 it was already becoming clear that certain countries might not reach their intended goals. In response the European Union created a 1 billion Euro MDG Initiative fund to provide additional development assistance to countries most at risk in Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP). 

In 2013, The Gambia formally secured a 7.6 million Euro grant (more than 400 million Dalasi) from the MDG Initiative to tackle MDG 1c – food insecurity. 

It was agreed with the Government of the Gambia that the programme would be implemented through separate agreements with two of its long-term partners; FAO and WFP. In 2013 agreements were signed with both partners. WFP is implementing the school feeding component and the FAO is working towards increasing national agricultural production (both in quantity and quality) with a view to improve farmers income but also eventually to make excess foodstuff available for school feeding, amongst others.

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Today we are pleased to participate in the hand-out of fertilizers, provided by the project through FAO, for the regions targeted by the MDG 1c programme, namely Central River Region, North Bank Region and Upper River Region. A total amount of 5,327 bags of 50kg of NPK and 2,463 bags of Urea will be delivered to 3,725 farmers and members of community gardens to help boost up production during the current season. 

We are grateful for the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Finance and our Government counterparts in the National Authorising Office Support Unit (NAOSU) for their continued support and cooperation. The support of the Government and that of the implementing agencies WFP and FAO is important to make this programme a success and their experience and knowledge in the field are crucial elements towards achievements of the programme’s results.

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