The Gambia component of West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP) has, on Sunday 27th March 2022, began a 6-day field mission to conduct a Rapid Market Analysis (RMA) on tomato, chili pepper and sweet potato to determine areas for improvements and recommend potential intervention areas to address the quality-related gaps and constraints along the value chains.
The RMA followed WACOMP’s earlier analysis on onion which was held in August 2021.
The mission is also aimed at discussing with marketing federations and regional stakeholders on the selection of sites for the construction of curing and storage facilities.
Funded by the European Union (EU), The Gambia component of the WACOMP project is increasing The Gambia’s competitiveness through enhanced quality compliance along the onion value chain by improving the performance, growth and contribution to industry, regional trade and exports of onion and other horticulture value chain.
WACOMP in The Gambia is implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and United Purpose (UP) in partnership with the Government of The Gambia.
The team, led by Mr. Musa Saihou Mbenga, UNIDO – WACOMP International Horticulture Value Chain Specialist, is holding meetings with producers of the allied horticultural crops, representatives of marketing federations, regional departments of agriculture and WACOMP implementing partners – Njawara Agricultural Training Center, Freedom From Hunger Campaign and TARUD.
The delegation held focus group discussions with vegetable gardeners in Buniadu and Illiasa and held meeting with marketing federation representatives and other stakeholders on the selection of sites for the construction of curing and storage facilities in Kerewan on Monday 28th March 2022.
Mr. Mbenga said the value chain assessments on the allied crops will determine areas for quality improvements, underperformance, volume of production, and the feasibility to stimulate change in the market system.
“We are doing the RMA through a set of criteria meant to capture the constraints and root causes of underperformance, particularly post-harvest side quality-related non-compliance, opportunities for growth and domestic / export market promotion, and feasibility to stimulate change in the market system,” he said.
He said the RMA will serve as the basis for a bespoke technical assistance program for SMEs and extension officers towards the achievement of international certification and assured market linkages.
Fatoumatta Jagne, the President of Marketing Federation (Solicita) in North Bank Region (NBR), said the intervention of WACOMP is timely and it will greatly help to reduce post-harvest losses and promote production.
“NBR is one of largest producers of onion, but we have many challenges. I am excited that WACOMP will help us with storage facilities and market linkages. This will increase our profitability and help us to better preserve our onions,” the president said.
Fatoumatta thanked UNIDO for their plans to improve the onion value chain and the financier of WACOMP – European Union – for their relentless support to rural women.