This column is devoted to monitor and report on issues that are impeding food security in the Gambia as well as the interventions of Government and Non-governmental Organizations. In our today's edition, we shall bring to the attention of our readers a Livestock and Horticulture Development Project and the speech of the President of NACOFAG during the opening of the Lumo in the city.
The aim of the Livestock and Horticulture Development Project is to help small-scale rural producers, who are mainly women, to increase their incomes by improving the yield and quality of their horticultural and livestock products.
To that end, it uses formal contracts encouraging farmers to produce high-quality market products. It also targets young people through the establishment of pilot gardens and market-oriented small livestock and poultry production units.
The total cost of the project is US$15.9 million out of which, US$ 8.0 million is IFAD grant and the co-financing which the Africa Development Bank provided is US$5.0million. The duration of the project is from 2010 to 2015 and should directly benefit 10,390 households.
Moreover, the project provides practical support to the village groups known as kafos, which do much of the farming in The Gambia, thus enabling farmers to build on their existing activities and improve their use of increasingly scarce water and land resources.
Other project activities include:
• Rehabilitating and modernizing kafo-run production units with sheds, animal housing, multi-purpose water-use systems and fencing.
• Providing starter kits that contain breeding stock, day-old chicks, appropriate animal feeding and vaccination instructions, and other equipment and inputs.
• Training kafos in best practices for agriculture and husbandry, and in group entrepreneurship development.
• Strengthening the marketing capacity of kafos for identifying and negotiating contracts with traders and suppliers.
• Supporting community-based extension delivery services.
• Creating links with existing microfinance facilities supported by IFAD's Rural Finance Project to extend farmers' access to credit.
The project has adopted a mentoring approach to effectively reach the most vulnerable people within its target areas. To pave the way for improved local governance, it promotes the active involvement of communities in a participatory monitoring and evaluation system; the use of a voucher-based remuneration system for extension services; and the introduction of performance-based contracts for service providers.
THE SPEECH OF MUHAMMADOU FAYINKEH
President of NACOFAG
As you may know Agriculture constitutes four Pillars as follows: Production, Processing, Marketing and Consumption. The sustainability of those four pillars depends on three factors Human resources to provide man power, the finance and the Technical Knowhow (management, skill, storage, etc...).
The sustainability factors can be operational unless we have an enabling policy environment to make agriculture attractive for investors and services providers. I would like to inform this gathering the daily meal of our Honourable Minister of Agriculture and his team, His Excellency The President of The Republic of The Gambia and NACOFAG is to ensure those instrument are in place to make agriculture a real business profit making at farm gate, at the processing unit, and at the market and to get good quality for the consumer which will contribute to minimize health hazard on the Population.
The end result of our daily effort is to live in a cooperative family within the concept of Family Farm as you are going to see in this Lumo. You will all agree with me, that 50 t0 70 percent of food stuff in Africa are produced by Family farm and today our family farms are challenged by numerous factors like inadequate access to finance institutions, political conflict, the dumping strategy of the west and America I don't know when Africa will reach self-sufficiency, poverty reduction and justice?
Mr Chairperson NACOFAG believe that together we can do which motivate us to deploy all our resources (finance, human) and our strategies to fully participate in this Lumo which was part of our five years strategy plan.
Thank to TeFa Global Solution to come up with this noble innovative programme.
Mr Chairperson this is our concern to make this Lumo an annual event therefore NACOFAG is appealing to all its partners to support this event and put it into their midterm review programme their annual budget allocation. I most thank the KMC, The Brikama Area Council, SDF, PIWAMP, RFP, The Gambia Government, Dr Yafa who was very helpful to us for publicity at West Coast Radio we thank their management.
Chairperson, we need the support of every investor, service provider, consumers at all level, before, during and after the event your contribution is still valid.
Today we are happy to showcase our expertise what we can offer for the development of our Gambia. I hereby challenge all the gathering here present or not to take ownership of this events Our Lumo, Our family our Nation may ALLAH help us to witness may more in peace and solidarity,
Thank for your kind attention sorry if I offend anybody.