The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), through its Central Emergency Relief Fund Project, recently donated garden seeds and fertilizers to women's gardeners of Sita Nunku and Mbolet Ba in the Upper and Lower Niumi Districts of the North Bank Region.
The items which include iron-rods and other garden equipment, are meant to empower local farmers in the rural area in a bid to improve their agricultural production and productivity capacity. The move was in response to the 2010 floods that caused extensive damages to crops and livestocks, infrastructures and livelihood of the farming population especially those in the rural areas.
Speaking at the two villages, Dr Babagana Ahmadou, the FAO representative in The Gambia, recalled that in 2010, The Gambia experienced heavy rains from mid-July to September, resulting in flooding which caused extensive damage to crops and livestocks in the country. "On September 7th 2010, The Gambia government declared a state of emergency and the vice president of the Republic of The Gambia, made an international appeal in support of the floods victims. In response to the government's declaration, the Ministry of Agriculture requested assistance from the FAO to provide technical and financial support to participate in a multi-sector rapid joint assessment organised by the UN system to determine the needs of the people affected by the floods as well as to make informed decision on the most appropriate type and scale of response," he told the gathering.
The FAO boss recalled that the assessment team visited the villages and discovered among other things, extensive damage to crops, the wells and the fence in the aforementioned villages' gardens. He further recalled that a project proposal for assistance for the provision of vegetable seeds and fertilizers was prepared and submitted for funding through the UN Central Emergency Relief Fund. "The project was approved and will assist over 9631 affected farmers to improve their agricultural production and productivity. The overall objective of the project is to restore and reinforce the livelihoods of the vulnerable farming households affected by the 2010 floods through vegetable gardening and production," the FAO rep explained.
He posited that one of the key activities of the project is the provision of vegetable seeds, fertilizers and materials for the rehabilitation of collapsed wells in the 10 gardens countrywide. Dr. Ahmadou however expressed confidence that the work will be completed within a very short period, while thanking the director general of the Agriculture, Sait Drammeh and his staff for organising partnership with the FAO staff. He equally reiterated his institution's continuous commitment and collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture.
Mariatou Fall, the programme manager of FAO, said the move is meant to increase the productive capacity of the rural farmers especially those who experience floods during the past few years. She thanked the villagers for the warm reception accorded to them and challenged them to make best use of the items.
Sait Drammeh, the director general of Agriculture thanked the FAO for the move, noting that it was in relation to floods that hit the country and caused considerable damage to women farmers in the country. Drammeh called on the women farmers to be steadfast in their quest so as to improve their productivity in the coming years.
The beneficiary villages all took turns to commend the FAO for the move, while assuring that the items will be properly managed. Other speakers include, Lang Kinteh, the FAO representative in North Bank Region; Amie Fabureh, deputy director of Horticulral Services; Mamading Joof, Abdoulie Corr, etc.