Saturday, June 29, 2013

Farmers want more info from Agric and Natural Resource working group

(Photo Credit: Agfax) In September 2011, the World Future Council honoured The Gambia with the “Best forest policy award”

Alhagie Basse Mboge of the National Farmers Platform has said farmer platforms should be furnished with the quarterly reports of the Agriculture and Natural Resource (ANR) Working Group in order to keep them up to date.

Mr Mboge was speaking at Brikama on June 18 during a Forest Farm Facility, FFF, Meeting supported by the National Environment Agency, the FAO and attended by ANR Working Group, the National Farmers Platform and National Association of Farmers Credit Unions (NACOFAG).

He said that value addition to products and services are very crucial in helping farmers to tap business opportunities such as the supply of vegetables and other food stuff to local hotels and international markets.

The FFF is a five-year programme that aims to promote sustainable forest and farm management by supporting local, regional, national and international organizations and platforms for effective engagement in policies and investments that meet the needs of local people.

Ousman Kebbeh of Gambia Tourism Board (GTB) noted that every year approximately 348 million Dalasi is spent on imports so as to meet the demands and in supplying vegetables to hotels in The Gambia.

Mr. Kebbeh suggest devising more innovative ways of collaborating and supporting farmer bodies to bridge the gap of leakage in revenue lost in the importation of vegetables like potatoes, onions and tomatoes.

Salmina Jobe, Senior Programme Officer ANR at the NEA, the meeting is meant to form an all inclusive ANR platform to strengthen cross-sector coordination on integrated approach to land use and natural resource management.

The FFF will be coordinated by a small management team hosted by the FAO in Rome, wherein, a National Steering Committee in The Gambia will evaluate and refresh the vision, principles, policies, strategies and basic activities of the Facility.

A Donors Support Group will develop eligibility guidelines for selecting partners and criteria for grant applications.

During Tuesday’s meeting at the Regional Education Directorate in the West Coast Region, the joint meeting concluded with the establishment of an “All inclusive Agriculture and Natural Resources Platform” tasked to do the following:

“To ensure the implementation of the decentralization of land tenure to local producers groups and forest communities;

“To create mechanism for decentralized policy dialogue and feedback; and
“Strengthening of cross-sectoral coordination on ANR.”

The newly established ANR Platform then developed an operational plan for next month - which includes a nationwide field trip to assess the implementation of ANR Sector related policies at grass-root level, publication of news paper articles on FFF and awareness raising talk shows on the national and FM Radios.

Written by Modou S. Joof
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