Lrr — A Telefood project financed at the tune of D283, 375 for 160 women of Jasong village, in the Lower River Region, was recently launched by the donors -FAO and the Horticultural Technical Service Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture. The vegetable garden project is expected to enhance horticultural production in the area and the livelihood of the 160 women.
Speaking at the occasion, the FAO assistant representative in charge of programmes, Mariatou Faal- Njie, disclosed that the project is to establish a horticultural garden for Jasong Women Vegetable Growers Association. The initiative, she explained, formed part of FAO's Telefood programme to raise awareness on hunger and food insecurity.
"The Telefood initiative," she disclosed, "was first launched in The Gambia in 1998 and since then about 60 Telefood projects have been approved and implemented in the country including the one we are launching today." Noting that although gains have been made under the Telefood project, She stressed that more resources need to be channeled in to address the agricultural production of rural dwellers so as to increase the production and income levels of communities.
She then explained that the project launched in Jasong will provide the beneficiaries with fencing materials to fence the perimeter of the garden, improve the water system, as well as improve vegetable seeds and garden tools for a period of one year. "The Telefood project has over the years galvanised the adoption of improved technologies and subsequently enhance production, processing and prescription capacity in agriculture including livestock and fisheries," she added.
The deputy director of Horticultural Technical Service Unit, Amie Sabureh, described the project as significant, in that it is designed to provide a well equipped horticultural garden for the women of Jasong village to support themselves. She reaffirmed her department's commitment to support the farming communities to improve production and productivity of the agricultural sector, with a view to increase and enhance food security across the country. She then described FAO as a real partner in development and lauded the organisation for its support to them.
The director of Agriculture in LRR, Pa Lalo Touray, who also spoke at the occasion, challenged the beneficiaries to utilise the opportunity accorded them. He enjoined the women folk of Jasong to forget about their personal differences and work together for the interest of their community.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, the president of the women group in Jasong, Fatou Kanyi, expressed their appreciation to the donors for the support rendered to them. She said the project will go a long way in enhancing their livelihood and help to increase their income.