Wednesday, March 7, 2012

US$14 million grant to improve food security in Gambia: IFAD

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) announces it will provide US$14 million grant to The Gambia to help improve food security and incomes of smallholder producers, especially women and young people.

The announcement followed a countrywide participatory and consultative visits to project sites across the country in fulfillment of a request by Gambia Government which is developing a new agricultural project- the National Agricultural Land and Water Management Development (ALAWAMDEP).

The IFAD-supported project is expected to kick-start early 2013.




IFAD's Country Programme Manager for The Gambia, Mr. Moses Abukari, said the overall goal of the project is to sustainably increase food security, raise income of smallholders and improve rice and vegetable productivity through land and water management practices through an ecological and integrated value chain approach.

The project is targeting all six Agricultural Regional Directorates under the Ministry of Agriculture which focus on women and youth, to enable them to participate more actively in development initiatives.

"ALAWAMDEP will build on the achievements and experiences of earlier IFAD – supported project in the same sector, including the three ongoing: Participatory Integrated Watershed Management Project (PIWAMP), Rural Finance Project (RFP) and Livestock and Horticulture Development Programme (LHDP)," Mr Abukari noted.

"Food security is high on the political agenda in the Gambia with a strong emphasis on the agricultural sector to encourage increased food productivity and economic growth," said the RFP project coordinator, Mr. Lamin J.S. Fatajo. “The proposed investments will solidify past and ongoing efforts of IFAD to enhance agriculture productivity, promote access to markets and stimulate overall economic growth.”


Mr. Fatajo argues the ALAWAMDEP’s strategic approach is in line with the goals and objectives of the recently approved Gambia National Agricultural Investment Plan (GNAIP 2011-2015).

To achieve these results, he said the ALAWAMDEP is being designed to expand the adoption of appropriate technologies generated from IFAD’s past and current investments in Gambia’s on land and natural resource management in key geographic areas and developing and strengthening access to markets.

At a March 3, 2012 national stakeholders workshop, parties to the project (IFAD, UN agencies, government officials, farmer organisations, youth groups, NGOs) initially agreed on the general approach and proposed key interventions in line with farmers and government priorities. 

The ALAWAMDEP project will also look into the effectiveness of agricultural research institutions in an integrated system, said Madam Ada Gaye, permanent secretary, Ministry of Agriculture. "The intensification of small scale farms is one of the most important tools in Agricultural development. These farms have the potential to offer greater impact on alleviating poverty, hunger and unemployment especially among women and youth," she said.

Since 1982, the Rome-based United Nations agency, IFAD has financed nine development projects in The Gambia, investing a total of US$53.6 million, out of a total investment of US $132 million.

These projects directly benefited approximately  120,000 rural households, and help to consolidate high-impact complementary activities like rural financial services, community-initiated self-help, lowlands rice development, and horticulture and livestock development.


 Author: Modou S. Joof

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