By Omar Bah
The Minister of Women’s Affairs overseeing the office of the vice president has recently launched a multi-million-dollar nutrition project at the West Coast Region education directorates.
The project, which is funded by the EU and implemented by United Purpose formerly Concern Universal, is geared towards reducing micro nutrition deficiencies of women and children in The Gambia through sustainable and integrated approaches to food fortification.
The project practically looks at introducing high Vitamin A varieties of sweet potato – Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato, reinforcing our own super food – millet with new varieties high in iron to be introduced and encouraging the expanded production, consumption and African Leafy Vegetables.
In her launching statement, Minister Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang said the launching of the nutrition project is another milestone, “in our difficult but sure route from the clutches of women and child malnutrition to food security.”
She said the project which is aimed at systemic and sustainable changes that will provide better health and nutrition based on a value chain approach to ensure maximum sustainability couldn’t have come at a better time.
“If reinforcing the consumption and market opportunities for existing local crops and introduction of highly nutritious new crop varieties that are equally or even more nutritious are the cornerstone of this Project, the government of the Gambia, will do everything humanly possible to support and nurture such a project,” she said.
She said the project has the capability of reducing the country’s expensive medical bill on the prevention and control of malnutrition, ensure the health of women and children growth with the attendant of full potential of mental and physical development.
“I consider this Project as one of the key strides that will provide resources that will significantly contribute to the achievement of both the zero-hunger initiative and the recently developed National Development Plan especially in the areas of food and nutrition security and poverty reduction,” she added.
Adding: “I am reliably informed that under the Bio fortification Project, 18,000 participating farmers will be part of value chain improvements to develop production, processing, consumption and marketing opportunities and they will be equipped with skills to correctly operate them in a business oriented fashion.”
Minister Tambajang further stressed that it is her government’s belief that ensuring household and national food and nutrition security, “is the core of all our dreams and will remain the same for future generations hence the need for our youths and other segments of the population to actively engage themselves in Agriculture.”
“I wish to thank the European Union for its trust on the Government of The Gambia and its commitment to funding Agriculture and development in The Gambia. This is not only demonstrated in the provision of funds but the frequent presence of their high profile, experienced and committed staff in the country funded programmes,” she concluded.