Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Gambia to benefit from $14mn IFAD project to boost incomes of women, young farmers
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), following request of The Gambia government, is developing a new agricultural project dubbed ‘the National Agricultural Land and Water Management Development (ALAWAMDEP)’ to the tune of fourteen million U.S dollars aim at increasing food security and raise income of smallholders especially women and youths.
She said the transformation of agriculture to more modern and science-based production system has become imperative, thus the need to build capacity to support and transform in terms of productivity for national economic development.
The main objective of the ALAWAMDEP is to improve rice and vegetable productivity through land and water management practices taking into account the value chain. The project will target all the six agricultural regional directorates, nationwide, focusing on women and youth.
IFAD mission team, led by IFAD Country Programme Manager for The Gambia, Mr. Moses Abukari, has recently completed participatory and consultative visits countrywide in order to have first hand information about the current ongoing IFAD projects in the country so as to build on that experience in the new project.
Project Coordinator of Rural Finance Project (RFP), one of the three ongoing IFAD projects in the Gambia, Mr. Lamin J.S Fatajo, who accompanied the IFAD mission countrywide, said the ALAWAMDEP will solidify past and ongoing efforts of IFAD to enhance agriculture productivity, promote access to markets and stimulate overall economic growth.
He said the new project is designed to expand the adoption of appropriate technologies generated from IFAD’s past and current investments in The Gambia.
Fatajo pointed out that the project will focus on expansion of farming systems principally for rice and off-season production of vegetables and land improvement techniques, access to small-scale irrigation technologies. The project will also strengthen the capacities of rural producers to take advantage of opportunities from value chain activities.
In order to complete the consultative process in the design of the new project, IFAD has organised a national stakeholder’s workshop to initially agree on the general approach of the project and to make sure that the proposed key interventions areas are in line with the government and farmers priorities.
The workshop, held at the Ocean Bay Hotel on 3 March, brought together more than 70 participants comprising the IFAD mission team, UN Agencies, government officials, Farmer organisations, Youth Groups, NGOs, ongoing donor projects, among others.
Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Noah Kujabi, Acting Projects Coordinator of the Central Projects Coordination Unit, said the ALAWAAMDEP is the first project of its kind responding to all the call to implement the Gambia National Agricultural and Investment Plan (GNAIP), aimed at contributing to increase agricultural production and productivity in order to increase food security and also enhance national economic development.
According to Madam Ada Gaye, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Agriculture, the project will look into the effectiveness of agricultural institutions, research, adaptive technologies like irrigation and land development, amongst others.
Madam Gaye explained that the intensification of small scale farms is one of the most important tools in agricultural development and have the potentials to offer greater impact on alleviating poverty, hunger, and unemployment.
In his PowerPoint presentation, designed by IFAD support team, Moses Abukari Country Programme Manager IFAD, pointed out that IFAD works with poor rural people to enable them to grow and sell more food, increase their incomes and determine the direction of their own lives.
He said IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized UN agency based in Rome, Italy. It provides loans and grants for agricultural and rural development programmes and project.
Mr Abukari said IFAD was established in 1977 and since then it has invested U.S $12.0 billion in 860 projects and programmes that have reached some 370 million poor rural people, globally.
IFAD, he said, started its active operations in The Gambia in 1982 and has since financed nine projects and programmes totalling US$53.6 million (GMB 1.6bn, 41 %) out of total coast of US $132 million; benefiting more than 120 000 households in rural areas.
With regards to the ALAWAMDEP, he noted that it will build on the achievements and experiences of earlier IFAD - supported project in the same sector, including the three ongoing ones namely: Participatory Integrated Watershed Management Project (PIWAMP), Rural Finance Project (RFP), and Livestock and Horticulture Development Programme (LHDP).