13 November 2012

Gambia: Over D5.5 Milllion Disbursed to Crisis-Hit Farmers in Urr

Basse — The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in the Gambia in conjunction with the Concern Universal over the weekend embarked on a second round funds distribution of over D5.5M to farmers in two districts of Upper River Region (URR) that were hard hit by last year's crop failure.

The funds, provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) was meant to mitigate the impact of last year's crop failure that rendered food insecurity and apparently leftfarmers across the country with nofinacial returns. The latest funds disbursement saw over 500 farmers from a number of villages, including Bakadaji, Gambisara, and Sandi Kunda receive financial assistance.

Speaking to the Daily Observer's URR correspondent in an interview after the presentation, a field monitoring assistant at the WFP, Abdoulie Sanneh, disclosed that an estimated 28 to 30, 000 farmers would benefit from the initiative in the second round of the cash disbursement. This, he underscored, will complement their effort in bringing the situation of the affected families to normalcy, but hastened to implore on them to utilise the money judiciously.

The director of Wulli and Sandu Development Association(WASDA), Kebba M. Sillah, for his part, applauded the efforts of the benefactors and that of the government in addressing the plight of the affected families.

Commending the transparent nature of the disbursement exercise, the WASDA boss said farmers are happy about the method of assistance given to them. Sillah therefore urged the beneficiaries to make best use of the funds given to them. He seized the opportunity to enjoin the donors and the government to look into the possibility of investing in irrigational agriculture, not only as an alternative to rainfall, but also as an assurance of farmers cultivating all year round.

Also speaking to this reporter, the disaster management coordinator in URR, Mawdo Amadou Jallow, commended the donors and the government for taking the lead role in mitigating the plight of the affected farmers.He assured that 75 percent of the beneficiaries use the money wisely as some of them would buy food items for immediate consumption shortly after receiving the cash.

Farmers' gratitude

Meanwhile, the beneficiary farmers, who took turns to react to this method of assistance expressed their most profound gratitude to the donors for coming to their aid; at a time when they are struggling to come to terms with their daily life's challenges.

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