The Project Management Unit of the Participatory Integrated Watershed Management Project (PIWAMP) has held its annual consultative meeting in which stakeholders openly discussed critical issues affecting project implementation and chart a new way forward.
Held at the Rural Agricultural Farmers Training Centre in Jenoi, Lower River Region, from 16th to 17th March, the 2011 annual consultative meeting brought together the project staff, service providers, and project beneficiaries to reflect over the 2011 activities and come up with sound recommendations to ensure improved delivery.
Speaking on the occasion, the representative of the deputy governor of Lower River Region, Alagie Jatta, urged all participants to devote their time to the forum and discuss pertinent issues with regards to the current ongoing PIWAMP projects and suggest ways of better project design and implementation for upcoming ones.
In his official opening statement, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Asheme Cole, informed the gathering that the government of The Gambia is looking for seeds to farmers following the mass crop failure in the 2010-2011 farming season.
He pointed out that the newly appointed Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Solomon Owens, since his appointment, on 1st March 2012, has been trying immensely to bolster the agricultural sector in the country.
DPS Cole noted that the meeting provided an opportunity for farmers to voice out their challenges and put forward recommendations to PIWAMP for implementation.
Cole described the meeting as a ‘bottom top approach’, stressing that if the beneficiaries do not speak their minds then the fault will be theirs.
“This forum is an open forum, therefore, you need to participate actively and if you don’t speak now tomorrow if anything happen in the project you should not put your blame on PIWAMP but yourselves,” he emphasized.
Mr. Momodou L. Gassama, PIWAMP Project Coordinator, told the forum that the project implementation in 2011, despite some constraints, had been very successful especially in the watershed development and capacity building component.
He informed the meeting about the Sustainable Land Management Project (SLMP), which is a component of PIWAMP and has one of its key objectives to establish national and regional SLM secretariats that will harmonise and coordinate all land management issues.
He said already a national coordinator, assisted by two field coordinators have been appointment. He explained that these people will be responsible for the coordination of all SLM activities in collaboration with the Agricultural Regional Directorates.
The 2011 annual consultative meeting was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Global Youth Innovation Network - Gambia, and Upland and Lowland Field Coordinators, among others.