The Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Solomon Owens, has officially opened a Lumo in the City on Tuesday, 13th November 2012, at the Dream Park in Kololi in the Kanifing Municipality.
Tefa Global Solutions, a charitable organisation registered in the Gambia, in collaboration with the National Coordination of Farmers Associations in the Gambia (NACOFAG), the Food Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the Ministry of Agriculture, organised this "Lumo" (weekly market) in the city.
According to Mariam Fatajo, the Lumo in the City is geared towards promoting and reinforcing the linkage among producers, processors, marketers and consumers.
In his statement, the President of NACOFAG Muhammadou Fayinkeh said Agriculture constitutes four pillars and they are Production, Processing, Marketing and Consumption and that the sustainability of these four pillars depends on three factors which are human resources to provide manpower, the finance and the technical knowhow (management, skill, storage, etc...).
Fayinkeh noted that the sustainability factors cannot be operational unless "we have an enabling policy environment to make agriculture attractive for investors and services providers".
On her part, the Coodinator of National Farmers Platform, Madam Marie Adams-Njie said the greatest problem of the farming community is markets for their produce. She expressed her hope that the Lumo in the City is an opportunity for producers to market their produce.
Saidou Jallow from FAO noted that his organisation is proud to associate with such an initiative because Food Security can only be ensured through the commercialisation of Agriculture and that this simply means producing more and adding value to what you produce and then with the possibility of marketing them.
In officially opening the Lumo in the City, Mr. Solomon Owens, the Minister of Agriculture applauded the initiative, adding that it has been a long standing government policy to effect a change from the predominant subsistence-oriented agricultural production system to a more vibrant commercially-oriented production system.
Minister Owens said the development of a market system for agricultural produce, the main objective of the Lumo in the City, would be a very effective means of orienting the smallholder farmer producer to the market and that with agriculture providing food and income to about 70% to 80% of the population, this initiative has the potential to bring about increased food security and poverty reduction, by providing farmers with the incentive to increase production to generate a marketable surplus.
He noted that when the Lumo in the City is successfully implemented and developed to its full potential, it will indeed create agribusiness in the country by bringing together entrepreneurs in agriculture, investors, producers, service provides, processors and the general public.
Therefore, he said, as agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, they all have an incentive to make the Lumo in the City a resounding success.
The audience was entertained by the performance of a play depicting the life of the smallholder farmer who works from sun to dusk, but who could not escape food insecurity and poverty. It therefore called on the Minister of Agriculture and the Government to honour the declaration of allocating 10 percent of the National Budget to Agriculture to ensure 'Hunger free' and 'Poverty Free' Gambia.
The play was done by Activista the Gambia.