The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Director for West and Central Africa Division Ides de Willebois disclosed that his institution has spent an amount of US$53.6 million (equivalent to about Gambia Dalasi 1.6 billion) on programmes and projects in the Gambia.
DIRECTOR IDES DE WILLEBOIS
Director Ides de Willebois made these disclosures while making a statement in the opening of a regional forum on IFAD's Operations in west and central Africa held in the Gambia from the 12th to the 15th of this month.
According to him, since1982, lFAD has financed programmes and projects for a total amount of US$53.6 million (equivalent to about Gambia Dalasi 1.6 billion and that IFAD's strategy is built upon the overall agricultural vision of the government which is to transform the economy focusing on productive sectors as reflected in Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE) and Agricultural and Natural Resource (ANR) Sector Policy.
He pointed out that IFAD's strategy in the Gambia aims at reducing rural poverty by improving household food security and income, especially of smallholder farmers, women and young people, in accordance with government priorities and that IFAD continuously advocate for youth inclusions in key policy and decision making process especially through the Global Youth Innovation Network (GYIN).
Director Ides de Willebois noted that IFAD interventions focus on agricultural and rural development, while facilitating and promoting access to microfinance and that over 126,000 rural households have benefited from IFAD-funded programmes and projects, the majority of which are poor rural women and young men.
He asserted that IFAD works in The Gambia around three strategic pillars and that in the area of integrated watershed management, PIWAMP is enabling crop cultivation on over 3400 ha of land, which is directly benefiting closer to 80000 people (43 per cent of women).
Regarding improved rural finance he said, the Rural Finance Programme is strengthening 64 village-based savings and credit associations (VISACAs) which are serving almost 40000 poor people and that he said, a VISACA Apex has been established to reinforce Microfinance Institutions.
In the domain of diversification of on and off-farm sources of income, Livestock and Horticulture Development Project (LHDP) was designed to respond directly to the communities' diverse demands and that 18 ha of fodder plantations has been established, benefiting about 1200 smallholders (98 per cent women) and trained 852 farmers in good agricultural practices.
He stated that the project also rehabilitated a number of women kafo-gardens and supported youth enterprise development.
Director Ides de Willebois noted that as of now, there are three on-going programmes namely:- Rural Finance Project (RFP), Participatory Integrated Watershed Management Project (PIWAMP) and the Livestock and Horticulture Development Project (LHDP) and that a new project called the National Agricultural Land and Water Management Development Project (Nema) is under design and planned for approval at the next IFAD Executive Board.
He concluded by saying that IFAD's strategy in the Gambia aims at reducing rural poverty by improving household food security and income which he said is multi-dimensional in nature and called for partnership from Governments and Non-governmental Organizations.